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Egyptian president to visit Trump next week

Egyptian president to visit Trump next week

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will visit the White House on April 3 for his first meeting with President Trump, the White House announced Tuesday. 

The two leaders will discuss the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and ways to “pursue peace and stability in the region,” Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said in a statement.

Trump and Sisi have both spoken about pursuing a closer U.S.-Egypt relationship, especially on counterterrorism. They spoke by phone shortly after Trump took office on Jan. 20, following up on a discussion during the transition and an in-person meeting in September. 

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Sisi is likely to bring up the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an issue Trump has spoken about frequently. The Egyptian leader recently met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to smooth over old tensions.

The Palestinian leader has also spoken with Trump by phone. 

After meeting with Trump last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu floated the possibility of a "regional" agreement that would involve the U.S. and Arab nations, including Egypt.

The issue of foreign aid, however, could cause friction between Trump and Sisi. Egypt receives around $1.5 billion per year from the U.S., part of a longstanding agreement to help keep peace with Israel. 

But Trump has proposed a 28 percent budget cut to the State Department, which would include reductions to foreign assistance. 

Administration officials have said Israel is the only country that will not be affected by the cuts. Other countries’ aid will be reviewed.