President Donald Trump signaled a new era in U.S.-Egypt relations on Monday, assuring his Egyptian counterpart that years of tepid relations will now give way to a “great bond” between their two nations.
Trump reunited with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi for talks ranging from collaboration against the Islamic State group to bolstering Egypt’s flailing economy.
In Trump, el-Sissi sees new opportunity after years of lukewarm relations with President Barack Obama.
“This is my first state visit to the United States since my inauguration and this is the first visit in eight years for an Egyptian president to the United States,” el-Sissi pointed out at the start of his remarks.
Obama never invited the Egyptian leader to the White House and Egypt’s government was repeatedly admonished over its human rights record. Obama even briefly suspended some U.S. military aid.
It’s the second meeting for the pair. Reflecting on their first encounter in New York shortly before the general election, Trump said el-Sissi is someone “very close to me.”