U.S. defense secretary looks to rebuild trust in Egypt visit

21 April, 2017, 22:57 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel

President Donald Trump welcomed Aya Hijazi, the Egyptian-American aid worker he and his administration personally helped free from a prison in Egypt and bring back to the US, to the White House Friday morning.

Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian who holds USA citizenship, was acquitted by a Cairo court on Sunday along with seven others who had worked with street children.

Aya Hijazi, 30, was flown back to the United States on Thursday night with her family on a USA government jet.

President Donald Trump did not publicly mention the case when he met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi earlier this month, but a senior White House official had said ahead of the meeting that the case would be addressed.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

Their release and the freedom of four other humanitarian workers were negotiated by Trump and White House aides, and Trump sent a USA government aircraft to Cairo to bring them home, the Post reported.

The U.S. defense official in turn said his country is looking forward to more cooperation with Egypt to face the unprecedented challenges now in the Middle East and the entire world.

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"We will explain to the Egyptians, as we have to other Arab countries in the region, that getting too close to Russian Federation is not in their best interest", the official said.

Hijazi is scheduled to meet Trump, his daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is believed to have taken a personal interest in Hijazi's case. Working closely with the Trump administration was very important for my family at this critical time. She sat in for three years despite her family garnering help from USA lawmakers and the Obama administration over the years.

An attorney for Aya Hijazi, 30, thanked President Donald Trump for helping to secure her release.

Sissi's visit marked a shift in relations after Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had given the Egyptian leader the cold shoulder for leading the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013. EXXON MOBIL The United States will not make an exception for American companies, including oil major Exxon Mobil Corp, seeking to drill in areas prohibited by US sanctions on Russia, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says. Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood member, had been elected the previous year.

Egypt is among the top recipients of US military and economic assistance, but the aid is being evaluated as part of the Trump administration's push for dramatic budget cuts to diplomacy and development. That meeting is not listed on the official White House schedule.

She and her co-defendants denied the charges and rights groups raised concerns they were not being allowed a fair trial.

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