US President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the Oval Office during a meeting on April 3, 2017 (Brendan Smialowski)
Washington (AFP) – US President Donald Trump will host his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the White House on April 9 to discuss military, economic and counterterrorism cooperation between their countries.
The pair “will discuss strengthening the strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt and building on our robust military, economic and counterterrorism cooperation,” the White House said in a statement.
“The two leaders will also discuss developments and shared priorities in the region, including enhancing regional economic integration and addressing ongoing conflicts, and Egypt’s longstanding role as a lynchpin of regional stability.”
One of Washington’s biggest allies in the Middle East, Cairo has received $40 billion in US military aid and $30 billion in economic aid since 1980.
Trump hosted Sisi at the White House almost exactly two years ago.
Turning a page on Barack Obama’s approach — Trump’s predecessor was critical of the Egyptian leader’s crackdown on dissent and refused to invite Sisi to the White House — Trump praised the Egyptian leader, saying, “He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation.”
The White House at the time applauded Sisi’s “courageous efforts” to promote what it said was a moderate brand of Islam.
Egypt carries considerable influence in several of the regional crises in which the United States has a stake, above all the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
As the Egyptian army chief in 2013, Sisi came to power amid mass demonstrations against his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi. Sisi then suspended the country’s constitution.
Since then, he has clamped down on dissent, banning protests and jailing both Islamists and liberal and secular activists.
Disclaimer: Validity of the above story is for 7 Days from original date of publishing. Source: AFP.