Egypt FM heads to Washington DC for talks with US officials

Mahmoud Aziz , Sunday 26 Feb 2017

File Photo: Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry (Photo: AFP)

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry headed to the United States on Sunday for talks with US officials, state news agency MENA reported.

Shoukry is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser Raymond McMaster, as well as some leading representatives from Congress. 

During his visit, Shoukry will discuss preparations for President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's upcoming visit to the US to meet with President Donald Trump, which would be the first meeting between an Egyptian and US president in years. 

The last official meeting in Washington between the countries' two presidents came between former presidents Hosni Mubarak and George W. Bush in 2004.

Cooperation between Egypt and the new U.S. administration is expected to deepen. Rhetoric from both sides since Trump's election has been warm, in contrast to relations under the administration of Barack Obama, which grew strained after the ouster of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.

In reaction to the ouster, which it described as a "military coup," the Obama administration temporariily suspended US military aid to Egypt. The administration, however, resumed it in 2015, amid growing threats of terrorism in the region.

El-Sisi was the first president to congratulate Trump on his election in November 2016.

The two leaders met in September last year on the sidelines of  71st session of the United Nations General Assembly held in New York, when Trump was running for the presidential post.

Trump described his meeting with El-Sisi as "productive and great.”

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