Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met on Monday with the Democratic and Republican US presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The two presidential candidates spoke with El-Sisi on working closely to combat the Islamic State group threat.
Egypt is facing an Islamist insurgency, with battles mainly focused in North Sinai. Hundreds of Egypt’s security forces have been killed over the past several years and Egypt’s army has also announced the killing of hundreds of militants.
Trump released a statement that said the meeting with El-Sisi “highlighted how Egypt and the U.S. share a common enemy and the importance of working together in defeating radical Islamic terrorism."
The statement also said that the Republican candidate told El-Sisi that "under a Trump Administration, the United States of America will be a loyal friend, not simply an ally, that Egypt can count on in the days and years ahead."
"If he [Trump] were fortunate enough to win the election in November, he would invite President El-Sisi on an official visit to the United States and would be honored to visit Egypt and the Egyptian people who he has a great fondness for," the statement added.
El-Sisi told Clinton that Egypt was moving toward "a new civil society, a new modern country that upholds the rule of law and respects human rights and liberties," Reuters reported.
Egypt has been repeatedly criticised by rights groups for committing human rights violations and cracking down on dissenters. Egypt denies the accusations, saying it acts in accordance with the law.
The White House recently released a statement calling for the release of Egyptian-US activist Aya Hegazy, to which Egypt responded by slamming American officials for “undermining the rule of law” by demanding Egypt drops legal charges “merely because the defendant holds an American nationality."
El-Sisi flew to New York on Sunday to attend the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly.
On Monday, he gave a speech highlighting Egypt’s efforts to combat illegal migration from the country.
El-Sisi also met the UN-secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and the head of the European Council Donald Tusk.
He is due to hold talks with the French President, the British PM and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.