Trump-Sisi meeting: Trump aims to reboot US-Egypt ties

05 Apr 2017 | By Ramya Patelkhana

In a move to reboot US-Egypt relations, President Donald Trump welcomed his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to the White House.

Praising Sisi, Trump reiterated America's support for its military and strategic partner, after the previous Obama administration's strained relations.

He also vowed to work with Sisi to fight Islamic militants.

It was Sisi's first official US visit after becoming the President in 2014.

In context: Trump to reset the US-Egypt ties

IntroductionThe US-Egypt relations

For decades, the US-Egypt ties were a "linchpin" of America's role in the Middle East.

The once powerful, symbolic alliance gradually became a transactional relationship.

Soon, the US altered its approach; President Barack Obama temporarily froze aid to Egypt after Abdel Fattah el-Sisi overthrew President Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, in 2013.

Also, Obama administration repeatedly criticized Egyptian government's crackdown on political opponents.

05 Apr 2017Trump-Sisi meeting: Trump aims to reboot US-Egypt ties

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President Trump's statement

"I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President Sisi. He's done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt."
Trump's intent to revive the bilateral ties

Bilateral TiesTrump's intent to revive the bilateral ties

The one-on-one Trump-Sisi meeting showed new US President's intent on reviving the bilateral ties and building a strong connection.

Trump said, "I just want to say to, Mr. President (Sisi), that you have a great friend and ally in the United States, and in me."

Both the countries are expected to forge stronger relations under Trump after years of tension under President Obama's administration.

Internal ConflictEgypt - One of America's closest allies in Middle East

Egypt has been one of the US's closest allies in the Middle East and annually receives $1.3 billion in US military aid.

Egypt is battling an internal Islamist insurgency in which hundreds of soldiers and police died fighting armed groups.

A US official said Sisi would find White House ready to soften the criticism of human rights in Egypt and work on counter-terrorism.

America's ConcernsThe US's concerns about human rights in Egypt

Trump said the US and Egypt "have a few things" they do not agree on, but didn't comment on the US's concerns about human rights in Egypt.

Human Rights groups have demanded the release of Egyptian-American, Aya Hijazi, who worked with street children.

He was arrested in May'14 on human-trafficking charges.

Also, rights groups estimated that Sisi's government detained at least 40,000 political prisoners.

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Human Rights Watch Washington Director Sarah Margon's statement

Ahead of the meeting, Margon stated, "Inviting Sisi for an official visit to Washington as tens of thousands of Egyptians rot in jail and when torture is again the order of the day is a strange way to build a stable strategic relationship."

Additional AidIs White House unwilling to provide additional aid to Egypt?

Surprisingly, ahead of Sisi's arrival, a US official said: "He's (Sisi) going to get an end to finger-wagging. We're not giving him any more money. He's going to be disappointed because he wants more assistance and he's not going to get it."

After Trump's decision to cut the overall State budget by 28.7%, whether Egypt escapes foreign aid cut is yet to be seen.