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Trump congratulates Egyptian president on election win

Trump congratulates Egyptian president on election win
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems add five candidates to ‘Red to Blue’ program White House notifies Russia that no new sanctions are coming: report Senators push HHS to negotiate lower prices on opioid overdose reversal drug MORE congratulated Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on his reelection during a phone call on Monday. 

"The two leaders affirmed the strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt, and noted that they look forward to advancing this partnership and addressing common challenges," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a readout of the call. 

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The Egyptian leader garnered 97 percent of the votes last month, according to the BBC.

There was little doubt he would be reelected, as his opponents dropped out or were arrested. 

Sisi has said he was not behind his opponents dropping out of the race or the arrests. 

Human rights groups have frequently slammed Sisi for his crackdown on protesters and the Egyptian news media. 

"If someone defames the army or the police, he is defaming all Egyptians," Sisi said earlier this year, according to ABC News. "This is not freedom of expression."

Two journalists were arrested last month while reporting on a tramway in Alexandria. 

Trump spoke with his Egyptian counterpart early last month and expressed his concerns over the  crackdown on journalists.

The State Department acknowledged Sisi's win in a statement on Monday but expressed concerns over freedom of expression in Egypt.

"We have noted reports of constraints on freedoms of expression and association in the run-up to the elections. We will continue to encourage a broadening of opportunities for political participation for Egyptians, and emphasize the importance of the protection of human rights and the vital role of civil society in Egypt," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. 

Trump recently faced backlash for congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin on his reelection during a call last month, despite reportedly receiving instructions not to.

Human rights groups have also targeted Putin for his treatment of the press and protesters.