In DC visit, Egypt's el-Sissi to test 'chemistry' with Trump

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Egyptian officials are expected to attempt to convince US President Donald Trump and his administration to declare the Brotherhood a terrorist organization during President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's visit to Washington this week.

Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S. Yasser Reda said that Al-Sisi's visit to Washington is a step closer towards warm relations between the two countries.

The trip was Sisi's first official US visit since being elected president in 2014.

The US, of course, spends massive amounts on military aid to Egypt, despite it being illegal to fund a military junta after a coup.

Sisi, a former army chief, overthrew Egypt's Islamist president in 2013 and cracked down on his followers. In 2013, when the former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was ousted by the Armed Forces, Obama made a decision to cut the military aid to Egypt.

Egypt has been negotiating billions of dollars in aid from various lenders to help revive an economy hit by political upheaval since a 2011 revolt and to ease a dollar shortage that has crippled imports, drove away foreign investors and hampered its recovery. The second tranche of a $US3 billion loan from the World Bank was disbursed to Egypt in March.

"Beyond Sisi being thrilled that Trump replaced Obama, and the opportunity to turn a page, this is Egypt trying to reassert itself in a more central way to US Middle East strategy", said Issandr El Amrani, the North Africa director of the International Crisis Group.

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Trump had taken to Twitter before the meeting and said, "Getting ready to meet President Al-Sisi of Egypt".

"He's a fantastic guy", Trump said at the time.

A USA official said Sisi would find a White House ready to soften US criticism of Egypt on human rights and to work on counter-terrorism but unwilling to provide additional aid to the most populous Arab nation.

Over the past three years, Sisi has met a trickle of delegations from American think-tanks and other groups, drumming home the importance of supporting him.

While Trump noted the United States and Egypt "have a few things" they do not agree on, he made no public airing of US concerns about human rights in Egypt.

Western officials who requested anonymity say Egypt is primarily interested in advanced military hardware it believes Western countries are withholding.

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