WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump on Tuesday praised the “great job” he said is being done by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sissi, despite widespread criticism over Sissi’s human rights record.
“I think he is doing a great job,” Trump said as he sat down for talks with Sissi in the White House. “We have never had a better relationship between Egypt and United States than we do right now.”
Egypt is one of the biggest US strategic partners — an Arab country that made peace with Israel 40 years ago and a major recipient of US aid.
However, Sissi faces accusations of overseeing the repression of political opponents, women and religious minorities in Egypt.
Later this month, Egyptians are expected to take part in a referendum that could see Sissi extend his rule beyond the end of his second term in 2022. Constitutional amendments would also increase the military’s political role and bring the judiciary under Sisi’s control.
Ahead of Sissi’s meeting with Trump, Human Rights Watch urged the US Congress to pressure Sissi, saying the referendum could “institutionalize authoritarianism.”