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World News

Macron says France will sell arms to Egypt irrespective of human rights

French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the Elysee Palace in Paris during his official visit to France, December 7, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) -President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday he would not condition the future sale of French arms to Egypt on human rights because he did not want to weaken Cairo’s ability to counter terrorism in the region.

“I will not condition matters of defence and economic cooperation on these disagreements (over human rights),” Macron said during a joint press conference with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after the two leaders held talks in the Elysee Palace.

“It is more effective to have a policy of demanding dialogue than a boycott which would only reduce the effectiveness of one our partners in the fight against terrorism,” he added.

Earlier in the morning, France had welcomed Sisi with a Cavalry parade through Paris.

France views Egypt and its leader as a bulwark against Islamist militants in the Sinai peninsular and Libya.

Reporting by John Irish; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Toby Chopra, William Maclean

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