US Trump tells Egypt’s Sisi he is keen to overcome obstacles

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US President Donald Trump called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday and said he was keen to overcome any obstacles in the path of bilateral ties between the two countries, Sisi’s office said, two days after Washington reportedly decided to withhold part of its aid to Egypt.

“President Abdel-Fattah Sisi received a phone call tonight from US President Donald Trump who affirmed the strength of the friendship between Egypt and the United States and expressed his keenness on continuing to develop relations between the two countries and overcome any obstacles that might affect them,” Sisi’s office said in a statement late on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Egypt’s foreign ministry said the US has decided to reduce part of its economic aid to Cairo and suspend a chunk of its military assistance, but did not specify the amount.

The ministry said it regrets the decision which reflected “misjudgement of the strategic relations” and might have “negative repercussions” on achieving common interests between the two countries.

On Wednesday, Sisi and Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner in Cairo, but Egyptian statements released following the talks did not mention whether the officials tackled the aid issue.

Trump and Sisi have demonstrated a certain rapport in past months, often vowing support and trading praise.

Egypt receives approximately $1.3 billion in US military aid yearly, as well as an annual economic assistance package, amounting to $150 million in 2016. Source: Ahram online