President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met with a delegation from the US House of Representatives headed by Congressman Darrell Issa Sunday at the Itihadiya Palace, state-own MENA news agency reported.
Issa arrived in Cairo on Saturday for a two-day visit, in a meeting that marks the first of its kind since Al-Sisi’s inauguration as president. He held talks with senior Egyptian officials over recent regional developments and ongoing events, especially the Israeli attacks in the Gaza strip.
Issa and Al-Sisi also discussed the turmoil in Sinai and along the Libya-Egypt border, and looked into how to “fight terrorism”. Issa added that he and his fellow congressmen will look into providing Egypt with more aid in light of “the terrorism threat”.
The visit came shortly after Al-Sisi’s talks with Russian president Vladimir Putin last Tuesday, in which the presidents planned to enhance Egypt-Russia relations.
According to state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper, Egypt’s current talks with Russia are due to finalise an approximately $3bn (EGP 21bn) weapons agreement.
In their meeting, Issa assured Al-Sisi the US is not threatened by Egypt’s visit to Russia, saying “our relationship is strong, ongoing, and will strengthen in the upcoming period”, Al-Ahram reported.
Following Al-Sisi’s visit to Russia, a US State Department deputy spokesperson said on Tuesday, “Egypt is free to have relationships with whoever it wants.” She also called the US-Egypt relationship “strong and strategic”.
Al-Sisi previously received Issa back in September when Al-Sisi was still Minister of Defence, where they discussed strategic relations between the two counties.
“While popularly elected, President Morsi’s government curtailed freedom of religion and equal rights for the Egyptian people as the country’s economy fell into a drawn out period of stagnation,” Issa stated in July 2013, the day Al-Sisi ousted former presiden Mohamed Morsi. “Real democracy is about more than just one election – it requires a framework of justice and respect for the rights of all.”
The US had temporarily suspended its military aid to Egypt in October of last year. Following Al-Sisi’s election for presidency in June, the US unfroze nearly $1.5 billion of it.
Issa and Al-Sisi reportedly talked about military-relations in their last meeting, as Issa maintained that the US will continue to provide Egypt’s army with military training and weapons, Al-Ahram said.