Sisi thanks lame-duck Trump 'for strengthening US-Egypt ties'
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi thanked US counterpart Donald Trump for the latter's 'efforts' in strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries in a phone call late Thursday, Cairo said in an official statement.
The two leaders shared thoughts on "regional issues of joint concern" by reflecting on aspects of "bilateral US-Egypt relations", according to the statement.
Mr Trump praised the value of their partnership and the "mutual understanding" between the countries, which he said strengthened peace and stability in the Middle East.
In turn, Mr Sisi lauded the lame-duck President's "efforts and contributions" toward cementing "friendly ties" between the two countries.
The phone call comes after Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior Adviser to Trump, visited Riyadh and Doha to initiate a process in ending a three-year regional rift that has seen Qatar blockaded by land, sea and air by several Gulf states and Egypt.
While Saudi Arabia and Qatar are reportedly close to mending ties during Trump’s final weeks in office, Egypt is among the blockading countries not involved in any preliminary agreement, Bloomberg reported this week.
At last year's G7 summit, Trump made headlines when he asked about Egypt’s President, saying: "where's my favourite dictator?"
Trump and his administration have ignored hundreds of documented human rights violations committed against the Egyptian opposition and other activists, turning a blind eye to reports released by the US State Department, Human Rights Watch and other local and international rights groups.
US President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to ramp up pressure on Sisi’s regime to end its crackdown on human rights.
Some Egyptians however remain sceptical about Biden’s possible role in altering Sisi's policies, arguing it is not high on the list of the incoming leader's priorities.
Last month, Sisi's regime looked to be taking advantage of the final months of the Trump administration when it arrested three members of staff at a prominent Egyptian human rights group last month.
The group were ordered released Thursday by Egypt's public prosecutor following an international campaign to release them.