Rights group slams France for ‘disgraceful indulgence’ towards Egypt

Rights group slams France for 'disgraceful indulgence' towards Egypt
Macron shakes hands with the Egyptian Minister of Industry in 2015. Photo: AFP
Human Rights Watch urged French President Emmanuel Macron to end France's "disgraceful policies of indulgence" towards Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday ahead of a meeting between the two leaders in Paris.
Macron, who raised alleged human rights abuse in Russia with Vladimir Putin in May during his trip to France, will welcome al-Sisi to the Elysee Palace on Tuesday for talks set to be focused on security.
Egypt is a major buyer of French military equipment with orders worth more than 5.0 billion euros (5.8 billion dollars) since 2015 including for 24 Rafale fighter jets.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said France should “stop ignoring serious abuses” and pressure al-Sisi by making future economic cooperation and military support conditional on improvements in human rights.
“President Macron should refuse to continue France's disgraceful policies of indulgence toward al-Sisi's repressive government,” HRW France director Benedicte Jeannerod said in a statement.
A statement from Macron's office last week said the talks would focus on security and regional security “but also the human rights situation to which France is particularly attentive.”
Rights groups have repeatedly accused former army chief and now President al-Sisi of repressive policies that stifle dissent in the media and politics, as well as the use of torture by security forces.
But the most populous country in the Middle East is viewed as a vital partner by Western countries which fear more instability in the war-ravaged region.
At the weekend, 16 policemen were killed in a shootout on a road 200 kilometres (125 miles) southwest of Cairo.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian sent his condolences and pledged solidarity in “the fight against terrorism”.