Sixteenth to nineteenth century
France had signed a first treaty or Capitulation with the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt in 1500, during the rules of Louis XII and Sultan Bajazet II, in which the Sultan of Egypt had made concessions to the French and the Catalans, and which would be later extended by Suleiman the Magnificent.
Napoleon Bonaparte's expedition in 1798 greatly affected and influenced Egyptian life. Relations started to deepen in Mohamed Ali's reign when Egyptian missions were sent to France to specialize in modern sciences and fine arts.
During the eight-year-long Algerian struggle for independence against French rule, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser was a strong vocal supporter of the resistance movement and provided significant military aid to the National Liberation Front (FLN). This prompted increasing French anger towards Nasser which, in addition to Nasser's nationalization of the Suez Canal, drove them to join the United Kingdom and Israel in an attack on Egypt during the Suez Crisis of 1956. Even General André Beaufre, commander of the French forces during the confrontation, said that "France would have fewer problems if Nasser was removed," a clear reference to the Egyptian president’s ongoing support for Ahmed Ben Bella leader of the FLN. Records from archives and conversations further substantiate the French position and this was clearly portrayed in a conversation between US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and US President Dwight D. Eisenhower where it was claimed that "the French would rather fight at the center of trouble (Egypt) rather than around the periphery of difficulty (Algeria)". For France, Suez had mostly been about Algeria, and traditional narratives therefore argue that the Egyptian victory following the crisis bolstered the FLN’s cause.
According to a 2013 BBC World Service poll, 36% of Egyptians viewed French influence positively, with 26% expressing a negative view. Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak visited France 41 times.
Cultural exchange between France and Egypt is very important, and French culture exists strongly in Egypt, as confirmed on TV channels and in the press by Ahmed Ghanem, founder of the "Egypt in the Eyes of the World" cultural program.
- Aburish, Said K. (2004), Nasser, the Last Arab, New York City: St. Martin's Press, ISBN 9780312286835
- Three years in Constantinople by Charles White p.139
- Three years in Constantinople by Charles White p.147
- Aburish 2004, pp. 209–211
- Vivian Ibrahim (November 24, 2009). "Algeria and Egypt: A tale of two histories". Egypt Independent.
- 2013 World Service Poll BBC
- Egypt-France sis.gov.e.g.
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