Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, on Monday, to discuss bilateral relations and issues of mutual concern in a phone conversation.
In an Egyptian presidency statement, Al-Sisi received the phone call from Macron to review the latest developments on the situation in Libya, and the efforts exerted to stabilise the ceasefire agreement between the warring factions in the country.
The two presidents addressed the mutual positions in countering terrorism and extremism and those who take part in such activities. They also pointed to the latest terrorist attacks in France, following the outrage over controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammed.
The controversial cartoons were published by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. A French teacher, identified as 47-year-old Samuel Paty, was beheaded by an 18-year-old Chechen man for showing the cartoons in a class.
Following Paty’s murder, Macron announced that his country will never abandon the cartoons as part of freedom of speech. His comments were criticised by millions of Muslims, with a widespread boycott campaign against French products following the cartoons’ publication.
President Al-Sisi stressed the need for a complete differentiation between Islam as a religion that calls for promoting peace, tolerance and renouncing violence, and terrorist actions committed by “[those claiming to] belong to Islam”. He noted that these acts are condemned in all their forms.
Al-Sisi said added that there is a need to focus on spreading the values of coexistence between adherents of all religions via dialogue, understanding, mutual respect and non-prejudice to religious symbols.
He added that Egypt is continuing to play its role in preventing terrorist groups and the countries supporting them from achieving their goals and distorting the image of Islam.