Trump lauds Egypt's efforts to revive ME peace process in meeting with Sisi

Ahram Online , Thursday 21 Sep 2017

US President Donald Trump listens while Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi makes a statement for the press before a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly September 20, 2017 in New York City (Photo: AFP)

US President Donald Trump praised Egypt’s efforts in attempting to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, a statement by the Egyptian presidency read on Wednesday.

Trump’s comments came after El-Sisi, who is currently in New York to attend the UN Security Council general Assembly, discussed Egypt’s aim to help secure reconciliation between Palestinian factions “as a main step towards the resumption of talks between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.”

“The US President stressed the importance of continued coordination and consultations between both countries on the issue,” Egyptian presidency spokesman Alaa Youssef said in the statement.

In his address to the United Nations on Tuesday, El-Sisi urged Palestinians to unite and "be ready to coexist" in peace with Israelis.

Egypt has been spearheading mediation efforts between Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement to build Palestinian unity.

Following several rounds of talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo over the past months, Hamas announced last week that it had dissolved its administrative committee running Gaza and agrees to hold general elections in order to end the decade-long split, a move that was welcomed by Fatah officials.

The Egyptian president added that a strong relationship between Egypt and the US would enhance peace and security in the Middle East.

El-Sisi also expressed Egypt’s wish for more coordination and consultation with the US on different regional issues, especially in combating terrorism.

“The president stressed the importance of the continued fight against terrorism and draining the sources of financing, arms and militants to terror groups as well as fighting to prevent the providing of sanctuary for terrorists,” the statement added.

This is the first meeting between El-Sisi and Trump following an August decision by the US administration to withhold $195 million in aid and cut $95 million to Egypt citing concerns over Cairo’s record on democracy and human rights.

The two leaders discussed resuming aid during the Wednesday meeting, according to Reuters.

Trump told reporters before the meeting that the US “will consider” resuming some of the suspended military assistance to Egypt.

Last month, Egypt described the US decision to reduce aid as a “misguided decision given the nature of the strategic relations” that have bound the two countries for four decades.

Egypt normally receives $1.3 billion annually in military assistance from the United States and nearly $250 million in economic aid.

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