U.S. President Donald Trump told Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday that he strongly backs Sisi’s leadership and that they would work together to fight Islamic militants.
“I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President Sisi. He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt,” Trump said in an Oval Office meeting with the Egyptian leader.
The trip is Sisi’s first White House visit since being elected president in 2014 as former U.S. President Barack Obama had never extended an invitation.
Sisi was elected a year after leading the military’s ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood’s president Mohamed Mursi after mass protests.
Egypt has long been one of Washington’s closest allies in the Middle East, receiving $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid annually. The country is fighting an Islamist insurgency in Sinai, and hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police have been killed fighting insurgents.