Egypt's Sisi comments on Trump's proposed ban against Muslims in CNN interview

Ahram Online , Wednesday 21 Sep 2016

El-Sisi CNN interview
Screenshot of Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi interview with CNN's Erin Burnett (Photo Courtesy of CNN)

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi responded for the first time to US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposed ban on Muslims entering the US in a CNN interview one day after El-Sisi's meeting with Trump, the first the candidate has had with a Muslim world leader.

"It is important for us to know that during campaigns many statements are made and many statements are said, however, actual  governonance of a country becomes something different and is subject to many factors," El-Sisi told CNN's Erin Burnett after she asked whether El-Sisi and Trump discussed his anti-Muslim proposal during their meeting.

El-Sisi said that the US already has in place "very strict security measures" for visitors.

Trump had proposed late last year "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," but then suggested in August the "extreme vetting" of immigrants through an ideological test to determine if they hold US values such as religious freedom, gender equality and equal rights for homosexuals.

When asked by Burnett whether the Egyptian president believes Trump might not follow up on his ban proposal, he said that "during electoral campaigns there might be a perception that is based on a certain vision or point of view, then that vision gets corrected and it develops in accordance to governing, experience, reports, advice from experts."

El-Sisi also said that there is "no doubt" that Trump would make a strong leader.

El-Sisi met on Monday with both Trump and his opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Trump said in a statement that the meeting “highlighted how Egypt and the US share a common enemy and the importance of working together in defeating radical Islamic terrorism."

The Republican candidate said he 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."

In her meeting with El-Sisi, Clinton discussed ways of bolstering counterterrorism operations with Egypt, affirming her “commitment to defeating ISIS, to addressing foreign fighters, and to countering radicalisation," according to a press release by her campaign.  

The presidential hopeful also "raised concerns about the prosecution of Egyptian human rights organisations and activists" in Egypt, amid growing US criticism of Egypt's human rights record.

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