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Trump backs Egypt's Sisi in face of some protests back home

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By Reuters
Trump backs Egypt's Sisi in face of some protests back home
U.S. President Donald Trump greets Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York City, New York, U.S., September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst   -   Copyright  JONATHAN ERNST(Reuters)

NEWYORK (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday gave strong backing to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as Sisi grapples with protests at home, saying the United States and Egypt have a great long-term relationship.

“Everybody has demonstrations,” Trump said with Sisi as they met on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. “No, I’m not concerned with it. Egypt has a great leader.”

Sisi was first elected in 2014 with 97% of the vote, and re-elected four years later with the same percentage, in a vote in which the only other candidate was an ardent Sisi supporter. His popularity has been dented by economic austerity measures.

Sisi, asked about the demonstrations, blamed it on “political Islam.”

(Reporting by Steve Holland; editing by Jonathan Oatis)