WASHINGTON DC – This week in Washington President Donald Trump will welcome his next head of state. Fresh off of his visit with Denmark's Prime Minster Lars Lokke Ramussen, the president will meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday.
A White House official says the president wants to use the visit to “reboot a bilateral relationship and build on the strong connection the two presidents established when they first met in New York.”
Tensions were high between el–Sissi and the Obama Administration – so high in fact, he never received an invite to visit from the last administration.
Obama also froze aid to the U.S. ally after Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi was overthrown in 2013.
Since taking office, el-Sissi has been accused of imprisoning hundreds-of-thousands of political opponents and protestors. While President Trump has referred to el-Sissi as “a fantastic guy,” human rights groups disagree.
According to Freedom First, a nonpartisan human rights campaign, seven U.S. citizens are currently imprisoned in Egypt. In fact, the group will hold a vigil in honor of those imprisoned.
Bipartisan political leaders have also urged the administration to demand the release of American prisoners.
The White House says it chooses to handle sensitive matters like imprisonment behind closed doors.
“Our approach is to handle these types of sensitive issues in a private, more discreet way,” said a White House official.
The administration is said to be focusing instead on ways to build on a military relationship between the two countries and praised el-Sissi’s stance against terrorism.
“He’s called for reform and moderation of Islamic discourse, initiated courageous and historic economic reforms, and sought to reestablish Egypt’s regional leadership role,” said a White House official.
The president will also welcome King Abdullah II of Jordan Wednesday.