In DC visit, Egypt's el-Sissi to test 'chemistry' with Trump

President Donald J. Trump (left) greets Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in the White House on April 3.

"I just want to let everyone know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President el-Sisi", Trump said in the Oval Office alongside el-Sisi.

A number of politicians and experts have praised the importance of Al-Sisi's visit to Washington, as it is the first visit to the USA by an Egyptian president since 2009, as well as the first under the new United States administration.

Former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi's ouster, a year after he had won Egypt's first democratic election, and the ensuing crackdown on Islamists prompted then United States president Barack Obama to suspend military aid to Cairo temporarily.

Sisi, Egypt, Trump are the central news of the week, President is going to invite to the White House the dictator.

The Obama administration froze military aid to Egypt after then-defense minister Sisi led the 2013 ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, and a bloody crackdown on his supporters.

Under President Obama, Al-Sisi never visited the White House, though he met with other leaders whose countries were accused of human rights violations. This, in turn, will give a boost to el-Sisi internally because the administration of Obama was no friend of Egypt during a time of heightened crisis.

Human rights groups have estimated that at least 40,000 political prisoners have been detained by Sisi's government.

Monday's meeting offered some insight into how the Trump White House plans to address the issue of human rights.

President Trump met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi Monday at the White House.

Sisi left Cairo on Saturday for Washington where he is set to meet with Trump on Monday - the event will mark Sisi's first state visit to the USA since becoming president in 2014.

"We will do that together", Mr. Trump said.

While Trump noted the United States and Egypt "have a few things" they do not agree on, he made no public airing of US concerns about human rights in Egypt.

Egypt has always been one of Washington's closest allies in the Middle East and receives $1.3 billion annually in military aid. Although, President Trump has referred to al-Sisi as "a fantastic guy", Human Rights groups disagree.

Dunne, of the Carnegie Endowment, said that repression is a major reason why Sisi will not prove to be the ally against terrorism that Trump hopes and why the administration's reluctance to call Egypt out for human rights abuses might eventually change.

"Very strongly and very openly, you will find Egypt and myself always behind you in this, in bringing about an effective strategy in counter terrorism", al-Sisi said with the assistance of a translator.

Mr. Trump said the American military was undergoing a massive buildup and promised to continue to give full "backing" to Egypt, which receive about $1.5 billion in USA military aid, the second-largest amount behind Israel.

For Trump, the meeting will be an opportunity to show warm relations with the Arab world's most populous nation following the attempted introduction of a controversial travel ban targeting six majority-Muslim countries.

Greeting Sisi warmly in the Oval Office, Trump heaped praise on the former general's leadership and unleashed a charm offensive created to mend ties strained by crackdowns, revolution and revolt. Granting el-Sissi a White House visit, she added, is "huge leverage". The Trump administration has proposed large cuts to foreign aid but it remains to be seen whether this will result in any cuts to Egyptian aid. El-Sissi frequently claims Egypt is winning its continuing war on terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula and has urged people to not "listen to anybody's words but me".



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