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Friday, March 31, 2017

President Trump looks forward to visit of Egyptian President al-Sisi on Monday, April 3, 2017

Trump and al-Sisi meeting, Sept. 19, 2016, AFP









4/1/17, "Security to be Main Component of US-Egypt Ties: White House," news18.com, PTI (India), Washington

"The Egyptian President will meet his US counterpart Donald Trump at the White House on April 3, which officials said would lay the foundation of a strong bilateral relationship.

"The President is excited to welcome Egyptian President al-Sisi to the White House on April 3 and he wants to use the visit to reboot the bilateral relationship and build on the strong connection the two presidents established when they first met in New York last September," [photo above] a senior Trump administration official told reporters. 

Noting that Egypt is one of the traditional pillars of stability in the Middle East and has been a reliable US partner for decades, he said Trump's initial interactions with al-Sisi, including their phone call on January 23, have already improved the tone of the relationship. 

"Trump aims to reaffirm the deep and abiding US commitment to Egypt's security, stability and prosperity," the official said, adding that al-Sisi has taken a number of bold steps on very sensitive issues since becoming President in 2014. 

"He has called for reform in moderation of Islamic discourse, initiated courageous and historic economic reforms and saw to reestablish Egypt's regional leadership role. He has also led Egypt's campaign to defeat a long-running terrorist threat in Sinai," the official said.

The US wants to support President al-Sisi's efforts in all of these areas. 

"Our relationship has historically been driven by security and that will remain a key component of the engagement with Egypt. The US and Egyptian militaries have built close relationships and many military officers from Egypt have trained at US military installations," he said. 

Trump supports al-Sisi's ambition to develop a comprehensive counter-terrorism approach that involves military, political, economic, as well as social efforts, the official said, adding that at the same time, Trump also wants to increase the focus on economic and commercial cooperation in bilateral relationship. 

Building a more stable and productive economy is a critical step to ensuring long-term stability in Egypt, the official said. 

The Egyptian President has begun a necessary economic reform plan that would strengthen the Egyptian economy if it is fully executed, he said....

"We are optimistic that we are heading in the right direction and President Trump is very much looking forward to the visit," the White House official added."

Above image, 9/19/16, "Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) looks on as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi speaks during a meeing at the Plaza Hotel on September 19, 2016 in New York. / AFP / DOMINICK"  

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Reuters article 

"Egypt considers the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group."

3/31/17,  "Trump seeks to 'reboot' U.S. relationship with Egypt in Monday talks," Reuters, by Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland 

"President Donald Trump will seek to rebuild the U.S. relationship with Egypt at a Monday meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi focused on security issues and military aid, a senior White House official said on Friday.

"He wants to use President Sisi's visit to reboot the bilateral relationship and build on the strong connection the two presidents established when they first met in New York last September," the official said, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity. 

Egypt has long been one of Washington's closest allies in the Middle East, receiving $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid annually. The country is fighting an Islamist insurgency in Sinai, and hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police have been killed fighting insurgents.

The bilateral relationship was strained when former President Barack Obama criticized Sisi for cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's oldest Islamist group.

Sisi does not make a distinction between the Brotherhood, which says it is peaceful, and Islamic State militants. Egypt considers the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group. 

Obama froze aid to the country for two years after Sisi, then a general, overthrew President Mohamed Mursi in mid-2013 after mass protests against Mursi's rule. Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood member, had been elected the previous year....

Trump's relationship with Sisi got off to a good start when they met last September in New York while Trump was running for president, the White House said.

Trump supports Sisi's approach to counterterrorism, which includes both military and political efforts, his efforts to reform Egypt's economy, and Sisi's calls for "reform and moderation of Islamic discourse," the official said.

Asked whether the United States would designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, as Egypt has, the official said Trump was interested in hearing Sisi's views during the meeting.

"We, along with a number of countries, have some concerns about various activities that the Muslim Brotherhood has conducted in the region," the official said."...


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Added:

1/15/2014, "UAE lists Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist group," Reuters, Dubai

"The United Arab Emirates has formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood and local affiliates as terrorist groups, state news agency WAM reported on Saturday citing a cabinet decree.

The Gulf Arab state has also designated Nusra Front and the Islamic State, whose fighters are battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as terrorist organizations, along with other Shi'ite militant groups such as the Houthi movement in Yemen.

Saturday's move echoes a similar move by Saudi Arabia in March and could increase pressure on Qatar whose backing for the group has sparked a row with fellow Gulf monarchies."...





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