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Trump, Egypt’s leader bond over terror fight

Oren Kessler
3rd April 2017 - Quoted by Nicole Gaouette, Kevin Liptak, Allie Malloy - CNN

President Donald Trump warmly welcomed his Egyptian counterpart to the White House on Monday in a visit that's meant to signal a shift in the US approach to Egypt, but could leave both Trump and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi disappointed.

Trump emphasized Washington's support for Cairo.
 
"We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt," Trump said, speaking in the Oval Office with Sisi at his side. "I look forward to a very long and strong relationship."
 
 
 
Both leaders are looking to use the first visit by an Egyptian leader to the White House in seven years to make a point. Trump is looking to appear statesmanlike and focus ties on building a partnership for his top foreign policy priority of fighting terrorism. Like Sisi, Trump is also looking to move past the chill in US-Egypt relations during the Obama administration and demonstrate a warm partnership.
 
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"In terms of optics, this is a win for Cairo and for the White House," said Oren Kessler, the deputy director of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. "It lets President Trump appear statesmanlike and receive a leader who is positively inclined toward him. In terms of actual substance, my sense is the Egyptian government may be a bit disappointed in terms of what it gets.
 
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The official said any concerns about human rights would be raised discreetly and in private -- an approach that runs counter to the Obama administration. Indeed, Kessler noted that the meeting will likely deepen impressions that the Trump administration has given "that it will take a somewhat transactional approach to diplomacy, in which issues of human rights will recede to the background more than they did during the Obama era."
 
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Tags

egypt, sisi, trump