WASHINGTON, April three (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump moved to reset U.S. relations with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday after the prior Obama administration’s strained ties, giving him agency backing and vowing to work collectively to combat Islamic militants.

“I simply need to let all people know in case there was any doubt that we’re very a lot behind President Sisi. He’s executed a improbable job in a really tough scenario. We’re very a lot behind Egypt and the individuals of Egypt,” Trump stated in an Oval Workplace assembly with the Egyptian chief.

The journey was Sisi’s first official U.S. go to since being elected president in 2014. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, by no means prolonged an invite.

Obama froze support to Egypt for 2 years after Sisi, then a common, overthrew President Mohamed Mursi in mid-2013 after mass protests in opposition to Mursi’s rule. Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood member, had been elected the earlier yr.

The one-on-one assembly between Trump and Sisi, adopted by a separate gathering with high aides, confirmed how intent the brand new U.S. president is on rebooting the bilateral relationship and constructing on the sturdy connection the 2 presidents established once they first met in New York final September.

“I simply need to say to, Mr President, that you’ve got an ideal buddy and ally in the US, and in me,” Trump stated.

Sisi stated he appreciated that Trump has been “standing very sturdy … to counter this evil ideology.”

Whereas Trump famous the US and Egypt “have a number of issues” they don’t agree on, he made no public airing of U.S. considerations about human rights in Egypt.

Carlos Barria / Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on the White Home. 

Rights teams have referred to as for the discharge of Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian-American who works with avenue youngsters and was arrested in Might 2014 on human trafficking prices.

Hijazi has been held in custody for 33 months in violation of Egyptian legislation, which states that the utmost interval for pretrial detention is 24 months.

Human rights teams have estimated that Sisi’s authorities has detained no less than 40,000 political prisoners.

Egypt has lengthy been one in every of Washington’s closest allies within the Center East, receiving $1.three billion in U.S. army support yearly. It’s preventing an Islamist insurgency in Sinai through which lots of of Egyptian troopers and police have been killed.

A U.S. official stated Sisi would discover a White Home prepared to melt U.S. criticism of Egypt on human rights and to work on counter-terrorism however unwilling to supply extra support to probably the most populous Arab nation.

“He’s going to get an finish to finger-wagging. We’re not giving him any more cash,” stated the U.S. official, who spoke on situation of anonymity earlier than Sisi’s conferences with Trump.

“He’s going to be disenchanted as a result of he desires extra help and he’s not going to get it,” the official added, saying it was not but clear whether or not Egypt would escape a minimize in its international support as a part of the Trump administration’s plan to chop the general State Division price range by 28.7 p.c.

(Extra reporting by Arshad Mohammed, Ayesha Rascoe, Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason; Enhancing by James Dalgleish)