Egyptian leader Abdel Fatah al-Sisi leaves Cairo for landmark U.S. visit

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi departed Cairo on Saturday for his first visit to the White House since seizing power in 2013.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, seen here addressing the U.N. General Assembly in 2016, is expected to land in the United States on Saturday for his first visit to the White House. Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, seen here addressing the U.N. General Assembly in 2016, is expected to land in the United States on Saturday for his first visit to the White House. Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

Sisi will visit with President Donald Trump on Monday “to reboot the bilateral relationship and build on the strong connection” between the two presidents, White House officials said. Aides said human rights remain a top concern for the White House, but Trump plans to “handle these types of sensitive issues in a private, more discreet way.”

“These are issues that are important. Human rights has been an area we’ve talked about with Egypt for a number of years, and we will figure out the best way to discuss that, to handle that,” a senior White House official said.

Sisi has visited the United States three times to attend U.N. General Assembly meetings in New York City, but has not traveled to Washington, D.C. In addition to meeting with Trump, Sisi is expected to meet with officials at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, where he will seek assistance for Egypt’s ailing economy.

The meeting with Sisi comes after the White House told Congress it would lift Obama-era human rights conditions on the sale of arms to Bahrain.

By Amy R. Connolly