Trump: US 'very much' behind Egypt's president

Trump: US 'very much' behind Egypt's president
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President Trump on Monday affirmed that the United States will be an ally to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and his country following the first meeting of the two leaders since Trump took office.

“I just want to let everyone know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President el-Sisi,” Trump said in the Oval Office alongside el-Sisi. “He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation.”

“We are very much behind Egypt and people of Egypt,” he continued. “You have a great friend and ally in the United States and in me.”

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Trump said that the United States is significantly building up its military as he prioritizes fighting against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which has a branch in Egypt's Sinai region.

The two leaders were expected to discuss that counterterrorism effort and ways to “pursue peace and stability in the region,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement.

“We’re building up our military to a level, probably the highest that we’ve ever had, we are rejuvenating our military to the highest level

Trump said that he and el-Sisi have been close since they first met during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump's praise for el-Sisi comes as the former general's three-year-old administration, which started after el-Sisi led a coup to depose Egypt's first freely elected president, faces criticism over alleged widespread human rights abuses. A 2016 State Department report on human rights in Egypt accused the country's security forces of, among other things, "unlawful killings and torture."