Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L) with US President Donald Trump.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (L) with US President Donald Trump.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the US President Donald Trump revived on Monday the stalled relations between the two countries in their first face-to-face meeting in the White House.

Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama cut aid to Egypt for two years after Sisi overthrew the country's elected President Mohamed Mursi.

Egypt has long been one of Washington's closest allies in the Middle East, receiving $1.3 billion in US military aid annually.

"I just want to let everybody know in case there was any doubt that we are very much behind President Sisi. He's done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation," Trump said in an Oval Office meeting with the Egyptian leader.

"We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt."

Egyptian President also declared his deep appreciation for Trump's "unique" personality.

TRT World's Zeina Awad from Washington, DC has more details.

Human rights concerns

Monday's meeting offered some insight into how the Trump administration plans to address the issue of human rights.

In one of several public appearances, Trump said: "we have many things in common, We have a few things that we don't agree on."

"I think that this is going to be a very productive day." he said.

Asked directly whether human rights were discussed, Trump declined to answer.

Ahead of the meeting, a senior administration official said the topic would be handled in a "private, more discreet way."

We believe it's the most effective way to advance those issues to a favourable outcome.

That stance was slammed by rights groups, who say tens of thousands of opponents have been arrested or facing criminal charges.

"Inviting Sisi for an official visit to Washington as tens of thousands of Egyptians rot in jail and when torture is again the order of the day is a strange way to build a stable strategic relationship," said Sarah Margon, Washington director of Human Rights Watch.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies