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Security to be Main Component of US-Egypt Ties: White House

PTI

Updated: April 1, 2017, 8:13 AM IST
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Security to be Main Component of US-Egypt Ties: White House
File photo of White House. (Image: Reuters)

Washington: US-Egypt relationship has been historically driven by security which would remain a key component of bilateral ties, the White House said on Friday ahead of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's visit to America.

The Egyptian President will meet his US counterpart Donald Trump at the White House on April 3, which officials said would lay the foundation of a strong bilateral relationship.

"The President is excited to welcome Egyptian President al-Sisi to the White House on April 3 and he wants to use the visit to reboot the bilateral relationship and build on the strong connection the two presidents established when they first met in New York last September," a senior Trump administration official told reporters.

Noting that Egypt is one of the traditional pillars of stability in the Middle East and has been a reliable US partner for decades, he said Trump's initial interactions with al-Sisi, including their phone call on January 23, have already improved the tone of the relationship.

"Trump aims to reaffirm the deep and abiding US commitment to Egypt's security, stability and prosperity," the official said, adding that al-Sisi has taken a number of bold steps on very sensitive issues since becoming President in 2014.

"He has called for reform in moderation of Islamic discourse, initiated courageous and historic economic reforms and saw to reestablish Egypt's regional leadership role. He has also led Egypt's campaign to defeat a long-running terrorist threat in Sinai," the official said.

The US wants to support President al-Sisi's efforts in all of these areas.

"Our relationship has historically been driven by security and that will remain a key component of the engagement with Egypt. The US and Egyptian militaries have built close relationships and many military officers from Egypt have trained at US military installations," he said.

Trump supports al-Sisi's ambition to develop a comprehensive counter-terrorism approach that involves military, political, economic, as well as social efforts, the official said, adding that at the same time, Trump also wants to increase the focus on economic and commercial cooperation in bilateral relationship.

Building a more stable and productive economy is a critical step to ensuring long-term stability in Egypt, the official said.

The Egyptian President has begun a necessary economic reform plan that would strengthen the Egyptian economy if it is fully executed, he said.

"There is no question the transition in their economy will be difficult, but in the long run, Egypt will be stronger if it follows through on its homegrown reform plan. Our ties with Egypt is complex and covers a number of very challenging issues and we are fully aware that next week's meeting is only the start of a long process of improving this historical relationship.

"We are optimistic that we are heading in the right direction and President Trump is very much looking forward to the visit," the White House official added.

First Published: April 1, 2017, 8:13 AM IST
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