Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will meet with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton while the United Nations General Assembly is in session.
According to Reuters, both meetings were to take place on Monday. Clinton’s was announced last week, while Trump’s was announced on Sunday.
Clinton is also scheduled to meet with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, per CNN.
Trump said in a Fox News interview on Monday that he has “had a lot of calls from a lot of different people on the basis that I’m doing well and, you know, they seem to think it’s important to maybe meet,” and that he has “already met with a couple” who were in New York for the General Assembly, but declined to specify who they were.
Time lays out the relationships between the respective U.S. presidential candidates and Sisi:
If elected, Clinton is not expected to make drastic changes in U.S. policy toward Egypt. Trump, however, has voiced admiration for a range of authoritarian leaders, hailing Russia’s President Vladimir Putin as a strong leader and praising former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as an effective killer of “terrorists.”
Human rights rights advocates worry that, if elected, Trump would deepen U.S. support for Sisi, who casts his regime as a bulwark against extremist groups.
“We hear that Trump will be supporting Sisi in the so-called fight against terrorism and this will lead to cracking down more on human rights, leading to a massive deterioration in the human rights situation in Egypt,” says Mohamed Ahmed, a researcher on Egypt at Amnesty International.
Time goes on to recall Clinton’s confused handling of the “Arab Spring” in Egypt, beginning with her confident assessment that Mubarak’s government was “stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people,” less than a week before she changed her mind and called for his ouster.
Trump, for his part, has criticized the Obama administration for abandoning Mubarak, head of “a friendly regime in Egypt that had a longstanding peace treaty with Israel,” and then helping to “bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power in its place,” although Time notes Trump was also “critical of Mubarak and welcomed his ouster” in 2011.
With Mubarak and his successor, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi, out of the picture, Clinton and Trump must outline their proposed diplomatic relationship with Sisi, a leader President Obama was essentially forced to grudgingly accept after a rough beginning to their relationship, due to concerns over ISIS and the disintegration of Libya.
A Clinton adviser told CNN she would use her meeting with the Egyptian leader to “express displeasure at political repression that the Sisi government is accused of perpetrating in Egypt,” adding, “there are a lot of things that the Sisi government is doing that are concerning.”
For his part, during his August foreign policy speech, Trump named Sisi and King Abdullah of Jordan as key allies who recognize that the Islamic State’s “ideology of death must be extinguished.”