FILE - U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
CAIRO – 9 April 2019: The Egyptian president’s visit to the US and his expected meeting with President Donald Trump on Tuesday have been seen as unusual due to the regional developments and reports that the visit was planned only few days ago.
Dalia Youssef, Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee member, said that the terrorism file will be discussed during the summit as it represents a priority to both states.
However, the two presidents are expected to also focus on regional issues, especially after forces loyal to Libya’s General Khalifa Haftar reportedly launched airstrikes against targets in Tripoli, Congress has approved a resolution ending U.S. military assistance for Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen, and early legislative elections are being held in Israel.
Developments in the Middle East also include the so-called Deal of the Century, and developments in Syria after the U.S. administration decided to withdraw its forces from the war-torn country.
Moreover, a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of the visit, said that the two presidents will discuss security, economic reform and human rights in Egypt, Reuters reported.
The U.S. official said the two leaders would also discuss the development of civil society in Egypt and, in a nod to concerns of Vice President Mike Pence, its treatment of religious minorities, including Christians.
Asked whether the two presidents will discuss an alleged deal between Egypt and Russia, by which Egypt would purchase 20 Sukhoi SU-35 fighter jets, the official warned of such a deal, saying that the U.S. president may not be able to prevent sanctions from being imposed on those who do business with Russian defense sectors.
“Countries that engage in those purchases need to know that we are extremely limited in what we can do to mitigate,” the official said, noting that the United States had already faced similar situations with China, India and Turkey.
In an interview with TEN TV on Tuesday, political analyst Ahmed Maharem said that the summit between the Egyptian and U.S. presidents was not planned, adding that preparations started only two weeks ago. He affirmed that Sisi’s visit comes upon Trump’s invitation.
Palestinian cause, Washington’s peace plan
Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, told officials in February at a Middle East Conference that the U.S. will present a Middle East peace plan after an Israeli general election on April 9.
During a session with some ministers at the conference in Warsaw, Kushner said that Israelis and Palestinians would have to compromise, according to the ministers.
In this regard, Tarek Fahmi, Cairo University’s professor of international relations, told Ankara-based Anadolu Agency that the time of the visit is critical and that regional issues will have the priority, adding that the Palestinian cause will be on top of the issues the two presidents will discuss.
The visit “will witness a final reading of the American settlement process in the region,” Fahmi said, according to the agency.
Fahmi said that Cairo and Washington are expected to discuss three main points of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which he said Egypt backs, unlike the U.S. administration. The points also include Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017, and Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights in March 2019.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi meets with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the former’s residence in Blair House in Washington – Press photo
Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the former’s residence in Blair House in Washington on the first day of his visit, presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said.
Sisi asserted Egypt’s firm stance on the need to reach a just and comprehensive solution that guarantees the rights of the Palestinian people, including the establishment of their independent state.
According to the statement, the two sides reviewed the current Palestinian conditions and means of reviving the long stymied Middle East peace process.
Pompeo expressed appreciation of the Egyptian efforts to contain the explosive situation in the Gaza Strip and prevent it from further escalation, saying he looks forward to continuing consultations between both sides regarding that matter in particular.
Sisi also stressed Egypt’s keenness on consolidating and deepening its longstanding strategic partnership with the US which he described as a cornerstone of maintaining Middle East security and stability.
Sisi also met with Kushner, where he affirmed the need for international action to end the humanitarian suffering in the occupied Palestinian lands, especially in the Gaza Strip.