Donald Trump praises Egypt President al-Sisi and plans trip to Cairo

Egypt has jailed thousands of opponents and human rights campaigners in recent years

Rachael Revesz
Sunday 21 May 2017 10:47 BST
Mr Trump shakes hands with 'fantastic guy' Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the White House last month
Mr Trump shakes hands with 'fantastic guy' Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the White House last month

Donald Trump praised the Egyptian President again during his first overseas trip, saying “safety seems to be very strong” under the authoritarian leader and accepted the invitation to visit Cairo.

President Trump made the remarks after meeting President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, during the same week he signed a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis and will meet Israeli leaders and the Pope.

Mr Trump claimed he was having “very, very important talks” with President al-Sisi, and that the pair had been talking “positively”.

“I will get to Egypt. We will absolutely be putting that on the list very soon,” Mr Trump said, adding that President al-Sisi had “done a tremendous job under trying circumstance“.

Their meeting comes shortly after President al-Sisi flew to Washington DC to visit Mr Trump to improve relations between the two countries, and Mr Trump said he was "very much behind" the authoritarian leader.

The US provides $1.3 billion every year in military aid to Egypt but relations had been strained under former President Barack Obama and Mr al-Sisi was not invited to the White House during his two terms.

Donald Trump shakes hands with Egypt President El-Sisi and pledges support to his regime

The country has carried out a strong crackdown on Isis since ousting former President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013. During the next four years, hundreds of Egyptian police and soldiers have been killed while fighting militants in Sinai.

According to Human Rights Watch, tens of thousands of political dissidents and human rights activists remain in Egyptian jails due to the current President's policies.

Egypt declared a three-month state of emergency last month after two Isis church bombings killed 45 people.

Has Egypt s Sisi delivered on any of his promises?

Mr Trump will deliver a speech about how to combat extremism, including encouraging countries not to finance terrorism, to a group of Muslim leaders, months after he had tried to ban immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.

His vow to visit Cairo comes after Mr Obama spoke in the city in 2009, addressing millions of Muslims about how they could combat extremism.

President al-Sisi said Mr Trump was ”a unique personality that is capable of doing the impossible.“

Mr Trump reportedly smiled and said, "I agree."

He was also overheard to compliment the leader’s shoes.

Following the meeting in Washington, the Egyptian leader released Egyptian-American charity worker Aya Hijazi from detention, an effort that Mr Obama’s administration failed to complete.

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