Rights groups express concern over al-Sisi, Trump meeting

U.S. President, Donald Trump with Egyptian President, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi

Human rights groups are expressing concern about a meeting between Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House Monday.

The White House has stressed discussions with Mr. al-Sisi on security cooperation, including the fight against Islamic State, and rights groups have said they fear traditional U.S. concerns on rights may be pushed aside.

“Inviting al-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,” Sarah Margon, Washington director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

Amnesty International called on Mr. Trump to hold Egypt accountable for its crackdown on human rights, including mass arrests, the killing of dissidents and unfair trails.

“The Trump administration cannot turn a blind eye to Egypt’s human rights crisis,” said Amnesty’s advocacy director Sunjeev Berry.”

White House officials who previewed the meeting praised Egypt as “one of the traditional pillars of stability in the Middle East” and a “reliable U.S. partner for decades.”

They said human rights remain a concern for the U.S., but would likely be discussed privately.

Instead they emphasised security cooperation, including support for Egyptian security operations in the Sinai and billions in military aid for Cairo, as well as economic reforms.

Mr. Al-Sisi due to arrive at the White House at 1600 GMT.

(Reuters/NAN)

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