World Economy

Economy, Security on Sisi’s European Agenda

Economy, Security on Sisi’s European AgendaEconomy, Security on Sisi’s European Agenda

Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi visits France and Italy next week in his first European trip since the ouster of his Islamist predecessor, Middle East Online reported.

The four-day tour, during which Sisi will meet the French and Italian heads of state, is aimed at coordinating a response to fighting between government-backed troops and Islamist militias in Libya, as well as boosting economic ties.

“Both sides will look at enhancing cooperation in all sectors,” presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef said.

The visit, which begins Monday, comes at a time when Egypt’s military is battling its own militant insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, in which scores of policemen and soldiers have died.

Sisi met French President Francois Hollande on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September, and met his foreign and defense ministers in Cairo.

The two are expected to discuss a response to a conflict in Libya pitting Islamist militias and their allies against a weak but internationally-backed government.

Both Egypt and France argue that the “terrorist threat” in Libya should merit the same attention as the Islamic State (IS) group, whose militants have captured parts of Iraq and Syria, winning a pledge of allegiance from militants in the Sinai.

“We will definitely discuss with the French side, and look at ways of helping the Libyan government to restore stability and peace in Libya,” Youssef said.

Sisi is also to meet with the head of France’s National Assembly, Claude Bartolone, on Wednesday.

In Italy, which he will visit first, Sisi will meet Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday, religious news agency I.Media said, citing diplomatic sources. It will be the first visit to the Vatican by an Egyptian leader in eight years.