Human Rights Abuses Are 'Best Discussed Privately,' White House Says

Reuters

"I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President El-Sisi". "We agree on so many things".

The statement quoted General McMaster as saying that he looks for "intensified coordination with Egypt in combating challenges in the Middle East and means to reach solutions that help restore stability in the region". Former President Obama had never extended an official invitation to Sisi to visit Washington.

US President Donald Trump speaks about signing executive orders on trade policies in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, March 31, 2017.

Another American who got out of prison because of US pressure, Mohamed Soltan, is challenging the Trump administration to do more on this front.

Both leaders are looking to use the first visit by an Egyptian leader to the White House in seven years to make a point. Today, Trump praised el-Sisi as someone who's "done a fantastic job in a very hard situation".

He also vowed to work with the United States to eradicate the "evil ideology" that is "terrorizing communities".

According to CNN, Trump declined to answer a question on whether he had discussed human rights with el-Sissi, who took control of Egypt in a bloody 2013 coup that resulted in at least a thousand deaths.


Egypt, which receives $1.3 billion a year in US military aid, is fighting a violent Islamist insurgency in Sinai. With the cuts proposed by Trump, if Israel's assistance is to stay in tact, the Jewish state will get more security assistance than the rest of the world combined. Egypt is now battling an ISIS affiliate in its northern Sinai Peninsula and is a member of the US -led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

But he has objections to this particular Egyptian leader. "We are going to maintain a strong and sufficient level of support to Egypt and Jordan", the official added. Trump recalled their first meeting in September during the presidential campaign.

"Because of our domestic politics, that will be a challenge because the weapons systems we essentially buy for Egypt are made in the United States, and that would lay off American workers".

The official said any concerns about human rights would be raised discreetly and in private - an approach that runs counter to the Obama administration.

Rights groups have criticized the Sisi government and accuse it of having detained some 40,000 political prisoners.

The warm reception Trump gave el-Sissi marks a notable difference from his predecessor's approach.

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