French president in Cairo for talks on development, security ties

French President Francois Hollande will meet with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on Sunday at the start of a two-day visit aimed at strengthening political and dimplomatic ties.

The French president is accompanied by a host of diplomats and businessmen tasked with securing a large arms deal with Egypt, as well as dozens of agreements on memorandums of understanding on uban planning, renewable energy, culture and technical training.

French Ambassador to Cairo Andre Parant told the Cairo 360 talk show on Sunday morning that the two nations are seeking to strengthen ties, with a focus on development projects in Egypt supported by French investment.

He said that the two nations were seeking to improve the exchange of intelligence on terrorism with a view to improving their effectiveness in dealing with terrorist organizations, an issue of particular concern to France since the Paris attacks of November 2015.

The provision of military technology to Egypt is expected to play a central part in discussions, as France continues its transfer for air and naval hardware.

In early 2015, Egypt signed a deal for the supply of 24 Rafale aircraft, built by French company Dassault Aviation. The first three jets were delivered to Egypt last summer, and another three arrived early this year. The same deal saw Egypt purchase one FREMM-class multi-purpose frigate, as well as missiles.

Hollande’s visit to Egypt is his second in less than a year, following the inauguration of the new Suez Canal in August 2015. The visit comes as part of a wider Middle East tour, which started on Saturday, in which he will also visit Lebanon and Jordan.

Economic ties between Egypt and France have improved with the Sisi’s rise to power.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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