U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Abdel Fattah
Addressing reporters at the White House in advance of bilateral talks, Trump said relations between Washington and Cairo have never been better than "right now" as he referred to al-Sisi as his "friend."
The leaders are expected to address a wide range of issues, including U.S. military assistance to Egypt, human rights and energy resource development.
But while Trump is lauding his ties with the Egyptian president, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's top Republican and Democrat and 15 of their colleagues sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Monday raising a trio of issues, including warning Egypt is "unjustly" jailing at least a dozen Americans.
They further took issue with Cairo's decision to purchase 20 Russian SU-35 fighter jets, which could trigger U.S. sanctions, and voiced "serious concerns about the erosion of political and human rights" in Egypt.
Pompeo met Sisis Monday, and the State Department said the top U.S. diplomat did raise "cases concerning U.S. citizens in Egypt," but it did not elaborate.
Sisi has led Egypt since the 2013 ouster of elected President Mohammad Morsi. He was re-elected last year with nearly 98% of the vote after running virtually unopposed with most major challengers either being jailed or stepping aside under pressure.
Rights groups frequently accuse Egyptian authorities led by Sisi of trying -- and convicting -- political opponents on trumped-up criminal charges.
Egyptian officials say all defendants receive fair trials and enjoy
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