President Donald Trump today promised to support Egypt and vowed to work with it to fight against Islamic militants, as he welcomed Egyptian President Abdel al-Sisi to the White House in a reversal of US policy. “We will do that together. We will fight terrorism and other things. And we’re going to be friends for a long, long period of time. We have a great bond with the people of Egypt,” Trump said in his joint media appearance with al-Sisi at the Oval Office of the White House. “I just want to let everybody know, in case there was any doubt, that we are very much behind President al-Sisi,” Trump said.
“He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt. We have strong backing.” Sisi’s arrival at the White House marked a reversal of US policy after President Barack Obama refused to invite him because of concerns about human rights violations. “It’s great to be with the president of Egypt, and I will tell you president al-Sisi has been somebody that’s been very close to me from the first time I met him,” Trump said, reflecting the personal bond between the two leaders. Trump recalled their first meeting in September during the presidential campaign.
“I met during the campaign, and at that point there were two of us, and we both met, and hopefully you liked me a lot more,” he said. “It was supposed to be just a quick, brief meeting, and we were with each other for a long period of time. We agree on so many things,” he said. “We are very much — and as you and I will be soon talking — we’ll building up our military to a level that will be the highest — probably the highest that we’ve ever had — plane orders, ship orders, aircraft carrier orders. We are rejuvenating our military to the highest level,” said the US President.
“I think in these times, probably more than ever before, or certainly almost more than ever before, that’s what we need,” he added.
Speaking through an interpreter, al-Sisi said his meeting hold significance as this is the first visit in eight years from an Egyptian president to the United States. “Since we met last September, I’ve had a deep appreciation and admiration of your unique personality, especially as you are standing very strong in the counter-terrorism field.
“To counter this evil ideology that is claiming innocent lives, that is bringing devastation to communities and nations, and that is terrorising the innocent people,” al-Sisi said.
“Very strongly and very openly you will find Egypt and myself always behind you in bringing about an effective strategy in the counter-terrorism,” he said. Egypt is battling an Islamic State affiliate in its northern Sinai Peninsula and exerts regional influence in numerous crises where the United States is engaged, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen.