President Emmanuel Macron presented his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, the highest French medal (Legion of Honor), during his official visit to Paris, the Elysee Palace confirmed Thursday after the Egyptian presidency published pictures of the official ceremonies.
The pictures, which were taken by the Egyptian delegation on Monday evening, were published by the “Quotidien” program team in France on the “TMC” channel. Sisi’s handover of the medal was not included in the official program of his visit, nor was the honorary dinner held in his honor.
President Sisi’s awarding of the Legion of Honor angered human rights defenders because of what they described as the oppression in Egypt, as social networking sites were rife with sharp criticism of Macron’s move.
Sources in the vicinity of the French President said that awarding this medal falls within the framework of “imposed ceremonies” during the state visit.
A French diplomatic source affirmed that “the exchange of medals is one of the traditional elements of the rare state visits to France, which do not exceed one or two numbers every year in France.”
The website of the Grand Chancellery of the Legion of Honor stated that foreigners can be awarded the highest rank of the medal if they “render services” to France or “encourage causes” such as defending human rights or within the framework of state visits “within the framework of diplomatic reciprocity” and in order to support “foreign policy.” For France “.
President Macron awarded the Legion of Honor to Grand Duke Henry of Luxembourg in 2018, according to the Elysee. It was also awarded to the kings of Spain, the Netherlands, and Morocco, and many presidents, including Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2006 and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski in 2012.
Under Macron, France withdrew the highest rank of the Legion of Honor from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because of the civil war in 2011 and the bloody suppression of the Damascus regime.
Former President Jacques Chirac awarded Bashar al-Assad the Legion of Honor in 2001, but it was restored after Paris participated in strikes against Syria in April 2018.
The coverage of President Sisi’s visit and the ceremonies that accompanied it at the Invalides and the Arc de Triomphe and his arrival to the Elysee to attend an official dinner or his meeting with the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, was not open to French televisions and international agencies.
A source close to Hidalgo said, “On the state visit, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs draws up the accreditation protocol, including for the municipality. No accreditation has been issued and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not want that.”
However, the executive authority denies that it issued such directives to the various hosts of President Sisi. A source in the Foreign Ministry told France, “The only instructions on this visit are that everyone directs their communications.”