Trump and Sisi - Youm7 (Archive)
Egypt Today Managing Editor Mohamed Mahmoud is reporting from Washington as part of an Egyptian press delegation accompanying President Sisi.
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will meet U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House Monday to hold talks aiming to revive U.S.-Egyptian relations, after more than a decade of tension between Cairo and Washington.
According to the Egyptian presidency and the White House, the talks will include cooperation in counter terrorism, war in Syria, the peace process in the Middle East, enhancing military support for Cairo and bilateral economic relations.
“Cairo and Washington understand very well that the current stage needs a high level of cooperation on different fronts,” Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told Egypt Today in Washington on Sunday.
He added Egypt is a strong pillar in creating stability in the Middle East and the current administration is willing to support a stronger role for Cairo in countering terrorism in the region.
In his meeting with Trump, Sisi is expected to discuss the issue of designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, an issue which has stirred controversy in Washington over the last few months.
“The U.S. will do that if it serves its interest, and we understand that, however, our role is to explain to our partners the danger the Brotherhood represents to peace and security in the region and globally; their ideology has produced a radical rhetoric that has created a platform for terrorism and violence,” a senior Egyptian official told Egypt Today.
He added that the acts of terror that the Brotherhood has committed in Egypt over the last three years are documented and cannot be disputed.
In June, Senator Ted Cruz proposed a bill to designate the Brotherhood a terrorist organization. However, law experts believe the bill will not pass as it does not meet all the legal requirements to announce the group as a terrorist organization in the U.S. Additionally, U.S. media recently reported that the CIA has submitted a memo to the president advising him not to take such a step as it could “fuel extremism” and “damage relations with U.S. allies.”
For Egyptians in the U.S. the issue is much bigger as several groups are already pushing their congressmen and senators to move forward on declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group. Several hundred Egyptians are expected to attend a rally near the White House during the Sisi and Trump meeting to demand the U.S. government take serious steps to hold “the Muslim Brotherhood accountable for its crimes in Egypt,” said parliamentarian Emad Gad, who is in the U.S. with a group of MPs to meet with their counterparts in Congress to discuss the issue.
Gad said that several members of Congress believe the Brotherhood “promotes violence and terrorism,” but labeling the group a terrorist organization is a long process that needs cooperation between Washington and Cairo.
On Sunday, his second day in Washington, Sisi met the president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Tim, to discuss the economic reforms recently adopted by the Egyptian government. The reforms included slashing subsidies, devaluation of the domestic currency and other measures to control the budget deficit.
“The World Bank is an important partner and a strong supporter of the Egyptian government’s plan to revive the economy. Over the last decade they have provided us with different kinds of financial and technical assistance,” presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef announced in a statement Sunday.
On March 20, the World Bank disbursed another $1 billion in financial assistance to Egypt as part of its $3 billion loan program with the country.
At the time Asad Alam, the World Bank country director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti, said in a statement that, “the government has taken important steps in implementing key policy and institutional reforms that are laying down the foundations for accelerated job creation and inclusive growth.”
Sisi also met with the CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt, and discussed ways to further cooperate and develop Egypt’s energy and transportation sectors, and implement renewable energy projects. In April 2016, the president met with Immelt in Cairo where the latter expressed GE’s willingness to expand its cooperation with the Egyptian government across a number of sectors.
“The president expressed the government’s willingness to improve the investment climate and invited GE to expand its projects in Egypt,” Youssef said in a statement.