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Sisi to meet Trump at White House for official state visit

Sisi's visit to Washington would be the first to the White House since the former army chief became president in 2014
Donald Trump and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi meet in New York in September 2016 (AFP)

The White House announced Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will make an "official visit" to Washington on 3 April, ending years in which the Egyptian president had been kept at arm's length amid rights concerns.

"President [Donald] Trump and President al-Sisi will use the visit to build on the positive momentum they have built for the United States-Egypt relationship," the White House said in a statement Tuesday.

Sisi's visit to Washington would be the first to the White House since the former army chief became president in 2014.

His relations with former president Barack Obama's administration were strained by Sisi's role in ousting then-president Mohamed Morsi.

In response, the US had briefly suspended $1.3bn in military aid, which was fully reinstated in 2015.

From the outset, President Trump has shown more willingness to engage the former general, despite repeated reports of human rights violations under his rule. 

He met the Egyptian leader in September, and Sisi was reportedly the first to call Trump to offer his congratulations on his November election win.

In early February, Egyptian politicians and pro-government media condemned Trump's controversial ban against Muslims travelling to the US, calling it racist and an aid to terrorism.

Before the US president's travel bans were blocked in court, Egypt had started enforcing Trump’s ban with some US visa-holding passengers being stopped at Cairo International Airport, according to reports.