Macron: Egypt's Human Rights Abuses Threaten Country's Stability

(Bloomberg) -- French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that Egypt’s stability is threatened by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s crackdown against political opponents, and that he’ll seek a “balance” by denouncing abuses while not cutting off dialogue.

On the first day of a three-day visit to Egypt, Macron said El-Sisi’s regime has become more repressive than under the government of Hosni Mubarak that was overthrown in 2011.

“I believe in both stability and respect for sovereignty, but I think that’s what happening is worse for stability,” Macron said during a meeting with reporters. “Opponents say it’s worse than under Mubarak. It becomes dangerous for the country to continue on a path that was considered unsupportable before.”

Macron: Egypt's Human Rights Abuses Threaten Country's Stability

The human rights situation has “hardened” since El-Sisi visited Paris in October 2017, Macron said. Arrests of opponents has gone beyond Islamic fundamentalists to “democratic opponents who don’t threaten stability, homosexuals and journalists,” he said.

At same time, Macron said it was essential to maintain dialog with Egypt. “Turning our backs on Egypt over these issues would just push it towards Russia, which is just waiting for that to happen,” he said.

After a day dedicated to visiting archaeology sites and meeting local artists, the French president Monday will hold direct talks with his Egyptian counter-part and sign various accords.

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