Trump calls Egypt’s Sissi, offers support

White House spokesman says president committed to providing military assistance to Cairo, expanding bilateral ties

Then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looks on as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi speaks during a meeting at the Plaza Hotel on September 19, 2016 in New York. (AFP/Dominick Reuter)
Then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looks on as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi speaks during a meeting at the Plaza Hotel on September 19, 2016 in New York. (AFP/Dominick Reuter)

WASHINGTON — Egypt’s presidency said Monday that US President Donald Trump spoke with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who expressed hope for a “new push” in bilateral relations under Trump’s administration.

The statement said that the newly-inaugurated Trump called Sissi on Monday and “expressed his appreciation for the difficulties Egypt bears in its war against terrorism.”

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday that Trump was committed to providing military assistance to Egypt.

“The president committed to continuing military assistance to Egypt and working with Egypt to ensure that assistance most effectively supports the Egyptian military’s fight against terrorism,” Spicer said.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo on April 17, 2016 (AFP/Khaled Desouki)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo on April 17, 2016 (AFP/Khaled Desouki)

Trump “underscored the United States remains committed to the bilateral relationship, which helped both countries overcome challenges in the region for decades,” he said.

Washington’s annual $1.3 billion in military aid was briefly suspended under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama in 2013, following the ouster of then-president Mohamed Morsi, but was fully reinstated in 2015.

US President Donald Trump salutes the crowd after the swearing-in ceremony as 45th President of the USA in front of the Capitol in Washington on January 20, 2017. (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary)
US President Donald Trump salutes the crowd after the swearing-in ceremony as 45th President of the USA in front of the Capitol in Washington on January 20, 2017. (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary)

Ties have nonetheless been fraught amid disagreements over a rights crackdown and Egypt’s support for renegade Libyan general Khalifa Haftar.

Spicer said “the two leaders discussed a visit to the United States in the future,” and stressed counterterror cooperation.

Trump and Sissi have already shown a certain bond. Trump said there was “good chemistry” when they met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September.

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