Washington, Baghdad – US President Donald Trump turned the page of the tensed relations with Egypt, which was witnessed during the rule of his predecessor Barack Obama, by offering Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during their meeting at the White House on Monday full support and by vowing to join hands facing terrorism.
“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 told the press before his bilateral meeting with his Egyptian counterpart.
For his part, Sisi told Trump: “I’ve had a deep appreciation and admiration of your unique personality, especially as you are standing very strong in the counterterrorism field to counter this evil ideology that is claiming innocent lives.”
Sisi’s official visit to the US is the first since he assumed power in 2014. Former President Obama had never extended an official invitation to Sisi to visit Washington.
Obama also froze for two years all aids offered to Egypt after Sisi, then the country’s general, overthrew president Mohamed Morsi, who is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, in mid-2013 after mass protests against Morsi’s rule.
Separately, Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, flew on Monday to Iraq with Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, to get a first-hand assessment of the battle against ISIS.
Kushner’s first visit to Iraq comes as Trump is looking into possibilities of escalating the US-led coalition campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
The visit also reveals the wide-range domestic and foreign policy responsibilities given to Kushner, including working on a Middle East peace deal.
Dunford’s spokesman, Navy Captain Greg Hicks, said Kushner was traveling on behalf of Trump to express the president’s support and commitment to Iraq’s government and US personnel helping combat ISIS.