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Egypt's Sisi seeks Trump's help in 'president-for-life' bid

The two leaders will discuss military and economic cooperation as well as anti-terrorism [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 April, 2019

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Egypt President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will visit the US on 9 April in the hope of garnering support for his constitutional amendments

Egypt President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will visit the US on Tuesday, as part of an overseas tour which will see him stop by a number of West African allies.

Sisi's visit to Washington on 9 April follows US President Donald Trump's request to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries.

The two heads of state "will discuss strengthening the strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt", a statement released by the White House said.

High on the agenda, the two leaders will discuss military and economic cooperation as well as fight against terrorism.

Political developments and ongoing conflicts in the region will be also part of the discussion between Sisi and Trump, noted the statement.

"The two leaders will also discuss developments and shared priorities in the region, including enhancing regional economic integration and addressing ongoing conflicts, and Egypt’s longstanding role as a lynchpin of regional stability," the White House said.

Sisi's visit to US comes as Egypt is underway with passing constitutional amendments which, if indorsed, will entrench the president's authoritarian rule.

Sisi's planned meeting with Trump is seen by analysts as an attempt to legitimatise his crackdown on activists and garner support for his constitutional proposals.

Sisi ousted Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in a coup in 2013, promising to bring stability, security and democracy to Egypt.

Over the last six years, Sisi's government has engaged in a heavy-handed crackdown against activists and NGOs, which fueled anger and resentment among a vast segment of Egyptian society.

Trump has been ignoring demands to hold Sisi responsible for his gross human rights violation Egypt has witnessed since Sisi took over power.

During Sisi's visit to US last September, Trump said Egypt president was an "outstanding friend" and described his strategy with respect to handling terrorism as "an outstanding job".

Trump’s comments on Egypt president appear to contradict what he thinks behind the scene.

Investigative journalist Bob Woodward, in his latest tell-all biography on the US president, "Fear: Trump in the White House", alleged that Trump referred to his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, as a "f****** killer".

Trump also told his lawyer, John Dowd, that Sisi "made him sweat", following a phone conversation they had.

"Dowd, remember who I'm talking to," Trump said, according to the journalist's book. "The guy's a f***ing killer. This guy's a f***ing killer! I'm getting it done. He'll make you sweat on the phone."

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