President Trump to Meet Egypt's El-Sisi in Shift From Obama's Policy

Trump "wants to use President al-Sisi's visit to reboot the bilateral connection", he said. "We are going to address this issue with Egypt in a way that he hope will maximize the chances of getting it resolved", said a second official, also speaking on condition of anonymity. And in a speech outlining his strategy a year ago, he mentioned only two world leaders by name as natural allies in that effort.

"We are going to be discussing the general outlines of our approach with the Middle East peace process", the United States official said on Friday.

Egypt has always been one of Washington's closest allies in the Middle East and receives $1.3 billion annually in military aid. Egypt is a key US ally in the Arab world and a partner with the U.S.in fighting the Islamic State.

Mohamed Morsi's ouster in 2013, a year after he had won Egypt's first democratic election, and the ensuing crackdown on Islamists prompted then U.S. president Barack Obama to suspend military aid to Cairo temporarily. Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood member, had been elected the previous year.

Sisi was elected a year after leading the military's ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood's president Mohamed Mursi after mass protests. "We are building a new Egypt". Trump supports Sisi's approach to counterterrorism, which includes both military and political efforts, his efforts to reform Egypt's economy, and Sisi's calls for "reform and moderation of Islamic discourse", the official said.

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The relationship with the USA was strained further when Mr Obama publicly criticised Mr El Sisi for cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Trump administration says it will back away from public criticism of Egypt's human rights record as it seeks to rekindle relations with a country regarded as a key partner in the fight against violent extremist movements.

DEBKAfile's military sources can't however confirm Cairo's claim that Egypt's Third Army was able to scale the towering Jabal Halal mountain range in central Sinai and seize the terror group's headquarters on its summit.

Perhaps as a result, Mr Obama never extended a White House invitation to Mr El Sisi.

Al-Sisi said, following his meeting with Trump in September, that he is positive that Trump will make a strong president, while Trump described Al-Sisi as a "fantastic guy".

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