CAIRO, EGYPT —
Arab and Egyptian media reacted mostly favorably to the reception given to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi by U.S. President Donald Trump. Sissi's Islamist opponents either condemned the visit or ignored it completely.
Most Arab and Egyptian news channels broke into their newscasts to carry Sissi’s meeting with Trump at the White House live, describing the talks between the two men as cordial and positive.
Arab media underscored the theme of combating terrorism, and Sissi’s emphasis of the subject while meeting Trump received kudos.
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The Egyptian president stressed he was impressed by Trump’s personality and his eagerness to tackle the issue of terrorism, which he termed a devilish and devious ideology that kills innocents and destroys peoples and security.
University of Paris political science Professor Khattar Abou Diab says Sissi's visit to Washington represents a sea-change in U.S. foreign policy toward the Arab world.
He says the new Trump foreign policy marks the end of the “regime change” era and that a pragmatic interpretation of national interests has taken hold. Egypt, he argues, is at the forefront of those friendly nations fighting terrorism, so the United States has decided to support it.
The popular Cairo daily, Youm 7, carried a photo showing the two presidents shaking hands, while quoting Trump saying military cooperation between Egypt and the U.S. “will be greater than at any time in the past.” The United States gave Egypt $1.3 billion in aid last year.
Egyptian TV underscored an offer Sissi made at the Arab summit last week to fight terrorism on an ideological level.
Sissi says terrorism must be tackled on all levels, starting with a military response, then followed by efforts to improve the economic situation, along with an ideological battle, using educational and religious institutions, including Egypt’s venerable Al Azhar University.
Qatari-owned al Jazeera TV broadcast video of a small anti-Sissi demonstration in front of the White House.
Egyptian state TV, however, highlighted a pro-Sissi demonstration in elsewhere in Washington, with supporters chanting slogans in favor of Sissi and Trump.
Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood organization did not mention the Sissi visit on its official English website, although Arab media quoted former Brotherhood official Amr Darraj as denouncing the visit. Many top leaders of the Brotherhood, which was ousted from power by Sissi-led military in July 2013, are serving jail sentences.