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Sunday, 2 April 2017

El Sisi’s trip is all anyone can talk about in the foreign press

It is perhaps unsurprising that, just like the local press, coverage of the Sisi-Trump summit tops headlines on Egypt in the foreign press. Among the highlights of a decided mixed bag of nuts:

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s visit to the US is “long overdue,” but comes in a time when Egypt is moving in the right direction, Sasha Toperich and AmCham Egypt Inc. CEO Hisham Fahmy write in The Huffington Post. “From an economic point of view, Egypt is on an upward trajectory towards revival,” Toperich and Fahmy note, adding that the country has continued to play an “increasingly constructive” role regionally. They say Egypt needs US support in the fight against terror and that a window of opportunity exists for both sides to “work together on deepening the bilateral relationship on political, security and economic levels.”

Writing in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Eric Trager looks at what Washington stands to gain from warmer ties with Cairo including intelligence sharing and strategic cooperation. “Perhaps support for Mr. Sisi would dampen the anti-Americanism in Egypt’s media,” writes Trager. Ultimately, he concludes, this is America’s best opportunity in a long time to force Egypt to make concessions on its “deepening relationship with Russia, prosecution of Americans, and aid priorities.”

Other coverage of the visit:

  • The Washington Post carries an op-ed by former Islamist prisoner Mohamed Soltan, who touches on the plight of Americans imprisoned in Egypt including Aya Hijazi and Ahmed Moustafa.
  • The New York Times’ Peter Baker places the onus on Congress to fight Trump on his change of policy on human rights.
  • Egypt-born Dina Habib Powell is profiled by The Hill, which calls her US President Donald Trump’s “Ms Fix-It.” The Hill says “Powell has been directly involved in preparations for meetings between Trump and the leaders of Egypt, Jordan and China.”
  • Regional outlets are taking a broader look at the visit in the context of the Arab Summit last week, noting that El Sisi’s trip will be followed by a state visit from King Abdullah of Jordan and was preceded by Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
  • China’s Xinhua is suggesting that El Sisi will push the “Middle East peace process” ahead.

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