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French Defense Minister on Middle East Tour over Gaza Crisis

The Defense Minister of France Sébastien Lecornu embarked on an unexpected tour of the Middle East on Nov. 14 at the request of French President Emmanuel Macron, to discuss France’s policy towards the Gaza-Israeli war. The tour began in Egypt and Saudi Arabia on Nov. 15, after which he will go to the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and then Israel on Nov. 17. According to Le Monde, he will be the first French defense minister to visit Israel since 2000.

In Cairo, Lecornu was received by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. In a statement, the two said that Egypt and France expressed “deep concern” over the situation in Gaza and called for de-escalation. El-Sisi emphasized the importance of avoiding the expansion of the conflict and escalation in the region. He also reviewed Egypt’s efforts towards achieving a ceasefire, delivering humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, receiving injured Palestinians, and evacuating foreign nationals.

Lecornu also had talks in a separate meeting with his Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Mohamed Zaki, Lt. Gen. Osama Asker, the chief of staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces, and other commanders of the Egyptian Army.

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