An adviser to US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign said on Sunday that Trump will meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday during the United Nations General Assembly, just as Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, is also scheduled to do. Clinton, who faces Trump in the November 8 election, announced last week that she would meet both with Sisi and Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko in bilateral sessions expected to take place late on Monday. A foreign policy advisor to Trump, Walid Phares, told Reuters on Sunday that Trump would also have talks with Sisi on the same day.
For Trump, a New York real estate magnate and reality-TV show host who has never held political office, it marks the second time in recent weeks he has tried to burnish his foreign-policy credentials to compete with Clinton, the former Secretary of State under President Barack Obama and a US Senator from New York.
Trump ventured to Mexico late last month to meet with President Enrique Pena Nieto to discuss border security between the two nations. But afterward, both sides quickly accused the other of not accurately representing the scope of the conversations, with Trump insisting that the subject of which country would pay for a proposed wall between the two nations never came up, and Pena Nieto saying that his country would never agree to finance it.
Egypt remains in flux after the country’s chaotic revolution in 2011 that deposed President Hosni Mubarak, a movement that the Obama administration supported. Then-Secretary Clinton has since written that she advised a more conservative approach than the White House ultimately took toward Mubarak’s exit.
Egypt’s Islamist President, Mohamad Morsi, was eventually supplanted by Sisi, the nation’s former defense minister and a secularist, in 2013. Some Republicans in the US House of Representatives have since accused the Obama administration of abandoning its support of Egypt’s government in its battle against Islamic militants.
Trump has called for aggressive measures in combating the threat of Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria and has proposed blocking immigrants from countries that he says pose a threat to the United States. Earlier in his campaign, he suggested banning all Muslims from entering the country.
Clinton’s meeting with Ukraine President Poroshenko also is likely to be provocative given the reportedly close ties between Trump’s campaign and the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, considered part of Ukraine, in 2014.