The summit of the EU and the Arab League in Sharm el-Sheikh highlights the ongoing and ill-advised support for President Sisi

Days after Egypt executed men who said they were tortured into confessions of killing the country’s former top prosecutor, Europe’s heads of state are enjoying the hospitality of its president. The resort of Sharm el-Sheikh is hosting the inaugural summit of the European Union and the Arab League. Donald Tusk, president of the European council, is co-chairing with Abdel Fatah al-Sisi; Britain’s Theresa May is among the guests.

If the event itself is a first, the approach is familiar. As Mr Sisi entrenches his rule, presiding over what Human Rights Watch calls Egypt’s worst human rights crisis in decades, European countries murmur about their “quiet diplomacy” on such issues. Then they carry on building ties and providing the air of international legitimacy that he needs given his grim record since seizing power in 2013’s coup. Mr Sisi’s recent spate of executions is instructive: he must have felt confident there would be no repercussions for putting people to death so close to the summit – despite their blatantly unfair trials.

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