President Joe Biden discusses human rights with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

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President Joe Biden arrived in Egypt Friday where he met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and raised the issue of human rights. Photo by Egyptian Presidency/EPA-EFE

Nov. 11 (UPI) — President Joe Biden met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during the COP27 climate summit and raised the issue of human rights, the White House said on Friday.

El-Sisi is hosting COP27, a conference on climate change, one of Biden’s highest policy priorities. El-Sisi’s government has faced criticism for its crackdown on political prisoners.

“The President raised the importance of human rights and respect for fundamental freedoms,” the White House said in a statement on the meeting. “The two leaders also consulted on regional security challenges, opportunities to de-escalate conflicts, and the decades-long U.S.-Egypt defense partnership.”

Just yesterday, Egyptian authorities said they have performed a “medical intervention” on jailed pro-democracy activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who has been on a hunger strike.

Fattah, 40, had been on a hunger strike in protest of his years-long detention in Egypt. He is being held on charges of spreading “false news.”

Fattah stopped drinking water on Sunday to mark the COP27 climate summit in the popular resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. His plight has become symbolic of the larger 60,000 political prisoners human rights groups estimate are being held in that country.

On Friday Biden also thanked el-Sisi for his support in opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“President Biden expressed the United States’ solidarity with Egypt in the face of the global economic and food security challenges caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine, as well as his support for Egypt’s water rights,” the White House said.

He also praised Egypt for its assistance in mediating conflicts between Israel and Palestine.

“Egypt has been, by the way, a key mediator, and I appreciate what we were able to do with regard to Gaza and the strong counterterrorism partnership that we’ve established,” he said.

The two leaders also celebrated 100 years of partnership between their nations.

“I’d like to emphasize the strength of the strategic relationship between Egypt and the United States that has not changed over 40 years,” said el-Sisi.

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