US President Donald Trump on Monday put concerns about Egypt’s human rights abuses aside as he welcomed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to the White House.
Ahead of the meeting, senior US officials had said the issue of human rights violations in Egypt would not be addressed publicly during Sisi’s visit, which was widely condemned by rights groups and protesting campaigners.
Speaking to reporters after their meeting, Trump said he strongly backed Sisi’s leadership and that they would work together to fight against “terrorism”.
“I just want to let everybody know that we are very much behind President Sisi; he has done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation,” Trump said.
Egypt’s President Sisi to meet Donald Trump
“You have a great friend and ally in the United States – and in me,” Trump told Sisi, the first Egyptian president to visit the White House in almost a decade.
For his part, Sisi said he appreciated that Trump has been “standing very strong … to counter this evil ideology”.
Egypt is battling an internal conflict in Sinai, and hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police have been killed fighting armed groups.
Cairo and Washington are expected to forge closer ties under Trump following years of tension under the administration of ex-President Barack Obama.
Obama temporarily halted military aid to Egypt shortly after Sisi led the overthrow of democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, in 2013. His administration also repeatedly criticised the Egyptian government’s crackdown on political opponents.
click here to read more