French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attend a press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris on October 24, 2017. AFP/PHILIPPE WOJAZER
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The former investment banker, elected in May, has promised a pragmatic, results-oriented foreign policy, but also one that sees France uphold its historic mission of defending human rights.His approach is in line with other European leaders who see Sisi as a source of stability, but Macron did not go as far as US President Donald Trump who praised the Egyptian for doing a "fantastic job" in April. Egyptian security services are accused of using torture systematically by human rights groups, while government pressure on the media, NGOs and political opponents is seen as having increased under Sisi.Sisi ousted the country's first civilian president, the Islamist Mohamed Morsi from the Muslim Brotherhood, and insists that his priority is to restore law and order and provide jobs to ordinary Egyptians.In the lead up to the visit, Macron's aides had stressed that human rights would be discussed behind closed doors and that France would be "stubborn but discreet".
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