Egypt's el-Sissi to meet Trump in Washington in early April

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CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and U.S. President Donald Trump will meet in Washington next month, Egypt's leading state-owned newspaper said on Sunday.

Al-Ahram said in a front-page report the two leaders will meet during the first week of April, in what will be el-Sissi's first visit to Washington since taking office in 2014.

El-Sissi and Trump have already shown a bond when they met in September on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. Trump, at the time the Republican presidential nominee, said there was "good chemistry" and el-Sissi, a general-turned-politician said Trump would "without a doubt" make a strong leader.

Cairo and Washington are expected to forge closer ties under Trump following years of tension over the Obama administration's emphasis on human rights and Cairo's perception that it supported the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

El-Sissi, as defense minister, led the military's 2013 ouster of the Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi following days of massive protests against the Islamist leader's divisive rule. His removal ushered in the start of a massive crackdown against both Islamists and secular pro-democracy activists that jailed thousands and killed hundreds in street clashes with police. The crackdown was frequently criticized by the Obama administration, which suspended some aid and sought to distance itself from el-Sissi's government.

Obama never invited el-Sissi to the White House.

Egypt and the United States have been close allies for most of the nearly 40 years since Cairo signed a peace treaty with Israel, with Egypt becoming the second largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel, with some $1.3 billion annually in military aid.

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