French President François Hollande has called for Egypt to continue what he called its “democratic transition process” as he welcomed President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to Paris.
A military ceremony was held at the Invalides before Napoleon’s tomb.
Perhaps today’s leaders see the French emperor as a source of inspiration in troubled times.
France needs to be a “strong partner” for Egypt, Hollande said.
Sisi’s visit is dominated by war and tension in the Middle East – and in particular the chaos in Libya, Egypt’s neighbour.
“We have shared fears about the negative events and violence in Libya which has made it a fertile ground for terrorist groups, which have exploited the weakness of the country and its institutions to impose their opinion and their agenda on the Libyan people,” the Egyptian president told a joint news conference.
While warning against direct involvement in Libya that could worsen the situation, Paris argues that a political solution is essential.
A Franco-Egyptian partnership accord was signed during Sisi’s visit.
A major contract to supply French warships had already been agreed; talks over new Mirage jets are underway.
As for Egypt’s struggling tourist industry, Sisi said French visitors would be safe.
His European tour – earlier he had visited Italy – shows how Cairo is an essential strategic partner for Western countries, despite repression at home.
Since former President Mohammed Mursi was ousted in June 2013, there has been a major crackdown on supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Some 1,400 suspected Islamists have been killed and around 15,000 imprisoned.
Amnesty International has called on France to suspend all weapons transactions to Egypt because of the “alarming” human rights situation in the country.
Reporters Against Borders has also written ==an open letter calling on President François Hollande= to raise the “shocking” crackdown on journalists in Egypt in the name of combatting terrorism.