Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi (photo) received Greece’s Minister of National Defense Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos in Cairo, on Thursday, to discuss bilateral cooperation between the two countries and combating terrorism, Daily News Egypt reported.
Also present at the meeting were Egypt’s Minister of Defense Mohamed Zaki and the Greek Ambassador in Egypt, Nikolaos Garilidis.
During the meeting, President Al-Sisi expressed his aspiration to develop military cooperation and joint training between the two countries. He also praised the level of the current cooperation between the two, whether at the bilateral or tripartite level between Egypt, Greece and Cyprus.
The tripartite cooperation was recently embodied in the joint Medusa-10 military training, which is currently being implemented with the participation of French and UAE forces.
For his part, Panagiotopoulos said that his visit to Egypt reflects the developments in the strategic relations between the two countries. This relationship is driven by common interests, mutual respect and the desire of the two countries to achieve security and stability in the region, he added.
He further expressed Greece’s keenness to strengthen the existing partnership relations between the two countries on the military, security, and information exchange levels.
The meeting also saw discussions on methods of enhancing military cooperation between the two countries, in addition to the exchange of views on the latest developments in regional and international issues.
Furthermore, the Egyptian President arrived, on Sunday, in the French capital, Paris, for an official visit upon the invitation of his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, according to an Egyptian Presidency statement.
The two leaders are scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss regional updates, particularly tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Libyan crisis. The talks between the two heads of state will also tackle joint coordination over regional and international issues of common interest.
The two-day visit aims to strengthen strategic relations and enhance bilateral cooperation in particular the trade and investment fields in light of Egypt’s keenness to attract foreign investments in its major national projects, the statement added.
Al-Sisi met French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Sunday. Le Drian recently visited Cairo to soothe tensions and outrage sparked in the Muslim world over controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed that were recently re-published in France.
The Egyptian President is also set to meet with France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex, as well as other Ministers and top officials. Al-Sisi will also meet up with the Head of France’s National Assembly and the President of the French Senate, the statement noted.
Talks with French officials will tackle Egypt’s “vision over regional crises and ways to deal with them in particular tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean”, the statement said.
Egypt and France enjoy close, friendly relations which have been enhanced in recent years. The two countries are keen on bolstering bilateral cooperation on economic, political, military and cultural levels.
Meanwhile, France is a very important economic partner to Egypt, with the country having pumped €5bn in current investments into the latter. The trade exchange between the two sides has reached €3bn, according to Hassan Behnam, Managing Director of the French Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (CCIFE).
On the military level, the Armed Forces of both Egypt and France regularly conduct joint maritime drills in the Mediterranean Sea, with an aim to exchange expertise, confront threats, and maintain maritime security. The military cooperation also showed in arms deals including the deals of Rafale fighter jets and French Mistral ships.
The two states also are working on enhancing cooperation in several communications and information technology (CIT) fields. This is focusing, in particular, on capacity building, providing support for entrepreneurship, as well as research and development in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).