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Egypt's el-Sissi to meet Trump in Washington in early April

Published:Monday | March 20, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and United States President Donald Trump will meet in Washington next month, Egypt's leading state-owned newspaper said yesterday.

Al-Ahram said in a front-page report that the two leaders will meet during the first week of April, in what will be el-Sisi's first visit to Washington since taking office in 2014.

El-Sisi and Trump have already shown a bond when they met in September on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. Trump, at the time, the Republican presidential nominee, said there was "good chemistry" and el-Sisi, a general-turned-politician said Trump would, "without a doubt", make a strong leader.

Cairo and Washington are expected to forge closer ties under Trump following years of tension over the Obama administration's emphasis on human rights and Cairo's perception that it supported the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

El-Sisi, as defence minister, led the military's 2013 ouster of the Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi following days of massive protests against the Islamist leader's divisive rule. His removal ushered in the start of a massive crackdown against both Islamists and secular pro-democracy activists that jailed thousands and killed hundreds in street clashes with police. The crackdown was frequently criticised by the Obama administration, which suspended some aid and sought to distance itself from el-Sisi's government.

Obama never invited el-Sisi to the White House.

Egypt and the United States have been close allies for most of the nearly 40 years since Cairo signed a peace treaty with Israel, with Egypt becoming the second largest recipient of US aid after Israel, with some US$1.3 billion annually in military aid.