US President Donald Trump has discussed with Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a phone call on Monday ways to fight terrorism and extremism, stressing the importance of bilateral ties between Washington and Cairo.
This is the second verbal phone call between al-Sisi and Trump.
The first conversation took place last December when Trump, who was the president-elect at the time, intervened in a United Nations Security Council vote condemning Israeli settlements in Palestine.
Following Trump’s call, Egypt called for a delay for drafting the resolution.
However, the resolution passed with the U.S abstaining the vote.
During the phone call, Trump applauded Egypt’s efforts on fighting terrorism and appreciated al-Sisi’s efforts on “war on terror” adding that the U.S. would continue to support Cairo in its fight, said the spokesman for the Egyptian presidency Alla Youssef.
Youssef said, “The U.S. president also expressed during the call his looking forward to the president’s awaited visit to Washington which is being prepared for through diplomatic channels.”
Officials did not specify when al-Sisi’s trip is likely to occur.
Moreover, Donald Trump has also assured al-Sisi that he will continue providing military assistance to his country, according to Associated Press(AP).
Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S. military aid.
After the military coup in 2013 against Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, Obama’s policy was cautious towards the Al-Sisi regime.
In the beginning of the military coup in 2013, the Obama administration initially maintained a degree of distance from al-Sisi’s government.
The U.S. froze arms deliveries to Egypt in the aftermath of the 2013 coup, but eventually released aid in March 2015, delivering F-16 fighter jets and tank turrets. Later, Egypt received in May an initial shipment of 762 mine-resistant, ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles from the United States, which will be used in army operations in North Sinai.
Obama administration had started to recognize the coup in steady moves under the banner of “fighting terrorism”.
In fact, the Time magazine stated that the change in Obama’s administration toward providing support to al-Sisi regime appeared within the need to “prioritize the immediate needs of the international fight against extremists like ISIS over human rights concerns, embracing an authoritarian regime in Egypt that is battling ISIS-affiliated militants in the Sinai Peninsula and attempting to police a long desert border with Libya, where ISIS managed to establish itself in the chaos of that country’s civil war.”
According to the White House press secretary Sean Spicer, both Trump and Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi discussed ways to enhance the bilateral relationship between the two countries, fight terrorism and boost Egypt’s struggling economy.
Signs of a strong alliance between US new administration and al-Sisi regime have been tracked since Trump campaign in the US elections.
First of all, Al-Sisi was one of a few world leaders Trump requested to meet when he was a candidate on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September.
Moreover, Trump also expressed to al-Sisi “his strong support for Egypt’s war on terrorism, and how under a Trump administration, the United States of America will be a loyal friend, not simply an ally, that Egypt can count on in the days and years ahead, according to Politico.
Trump also said that if elected president, he will work with Sisi to fight terrorism, describing him in a speech as someone who recognizes that “this ideology of death must be extinguished.”
After the meeting, Trump’s team released an account of his meeting with Sisi that was striking in how much praise the Republican heaped on Egypt.
On the other side, when al-Sisi was asked directly about his opinion on the US elections – during an interview with the CNN after meeting with Trump – and the possibility that Trump would make a strong leader, al-Sisi replied by saying “no doubt”.
Moreover, al-Sisi was among the first World Leader to congratulate Trump to congratulate him on his victory.
In the same context, Sameh Shoukry was the first Arab official to meet US elect official in the new administration which infers how warm will be the relation between both countries.
According to many observers it seems that Donald Trump administration will take steps in favor of the al-Sisi regime as” the both leaders have many views in common.”
It is known that Trump opposes the attempts of change in the region known as “The Arab Spring”, tends to support stability, and is against any radical changes in the region.
In addition, Trump views war on terrorism as a top priority for US foreign policy.
During his inauguration on the National Mall in Washington DC as the 45th President of America, Trump declared an immediate policy to unite civilized world “to defeat and destroy ‘terrorism’, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth”.
According to a statement posted on the White House website moments after his inauguration, Trump administration said it would make defeating “radical Islamic terror groups” its top foreign policy goal.
In the statement titled, “America First Foreign Policy”, the Trump administration said, “Defeating ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups will be our highest priority.”
The new American administration said that in order to “defeat and destroy” ISIS and similar groups, we “will pursue aggressive joint and coalition military operations when necessary”, work to cut off funding for armed groups, expand intelligence sharing, and use “cyber-warfare” to disrupt propaganda and recruitment efforts.