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Obama Looks Forward to 'Working Together' with Al-Sisi

President Obama calls Egypt's new president to congratulate him on his inauguration.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 6/11/2014, 3:12 AM

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Reuters

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s new president, received a phone call on Tuesday from his counterpart in Washington, Barack Obama.

According to a statement from the White House, Obama called al-Sisi today “to congratulate him on his inauguration and to convey his commitment to working together to advance the shared interests of both countries.”

“The President reiterated the United States’ continuing support for the political, economic, and social aspirations of the Egyptian people, and respect for their universal rights,” said the statement. 

“President al-Sisi expressed appreciation for the call and welcomed U.S. support for the new government. The two leaders affirmed their commitment to the strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt and agreed to stay in touch in the weeks and months ahead.”

Official results released last week indicated that al-Sisi had gained 23.7 million, or 96.1 percent of the valid votes cast in the polls.

Analysts have expressed hope that Sisi will bring a climate of change to Egypt, which is still reeling for ongoing political turmoil since the 2011 "Arab Spring" and 2013 ouster of former Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. 

There have been tensions between Washington and Cairo over the past year, as the United States announced in October it would cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Egypt over its displeasure with the military's pace of restoring democracy following Morsi’s ouster.

U.S. law forbids sending aid to countries where a democratic government was deposed by a military coup, though Washington has never qualified Morsi’s ouster as a "coup" and has been cautious about doing so, choosing only to condemn the violence in the country.

Recently, Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees foreign aid, said he would not approve sending funds to the Egyptian military.

Leahy denounced what he termed a "sham trial" in which a court sentenced 683 supporters of Morsi to death.