Trump 'honored' to host Sisi

President Trump promises to renew historic partnership with Egypt.

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Elad Benari,

Sisi and Trump
Sisi and Trump
Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that he was honored to host Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi as the two countries seek to reboot their relations.

“It was an honor to welcome President Al Sisi of Egypt to the @WhiteHouse as we renew the historic partnership between the U.S. and Egypt,” Trump tweeted.

Speaking earlier during a meeting in the Oval Office with the Egyptian president, Trump vowed that the two would work together to fight Islamic militants.

"I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President Sisi. He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt," Trump said, according to Reuters.

"I just want to say to you, Mr President, that you have a great friend and ally in the United States, and in me," Trump added.

Sisi, for his part, said he appreciated that Trump has been “standing very strong ... to counter this evil ideology.”

The Egyptian leader's visit to Washington was his first official visit since he was elected president.

Egypt has long been one of Washington's closest allies in the Middle East, receiving $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid annually.

However, the bilateral relationship was strained during the tenure of former President Barack Obama.

In 2013, shortly after Sisi and the Egyptian army ousted then-Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, Obama suspended American military aid to Egypt. He released the aid two years later.

American 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 had been cautious about doing so, choosing only to condemn the violence in the country.

Trump's relationship with Sisi got off to a good start when they met last September in New York while Trump was running for president, the White House said.

After Trump’s election, Sisi praised the new president and said he expected greater engagement in the Middle East from his administration.

The two leaders, in a January 23 phone call just days after Trump's inauguration, discussed ways to boost the fight against terrorism.