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Biden tucks Egypt in the framework of COP27

The President reaffirms the role of the United States in the fight against climate change before meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah El Sisi
Biden El Sisi

PHOTO/WHITE HOUSE  -   U.S. and Egyptian Presidents Joe Biden and Abdel Fattah El Sisi meet on the sidelines of COP27

The President of the United States was one of the most eagerly awaited leaders at COP27. After the good results of the Democratic Party in the mid-term elections, Joe Biden was finally able to leave his campaign bunker in the White House to take a direct flight to Egypt, where the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference is being held this week. It was his first official visit to the North African country since taking office in January 2021.  

His Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah El Sisi, was waiting for him in the resort town of Sharm El Sheikh, the unofficial venue for the summit on the shores of the Red Sea. The leaders met to take stock of the state of the region and their bilateral relations. They did so after Biden's speech, in which he announced a major $250 million aid package to boost clean energy in Egypt in partnership with Germany and the United Arab Emirates. 

Biden said the US would do its part to prevent a "climate inferno", a reference to UN Secretary-General António Guterres' remarks on the opening day of COP27, saying: "We do not ignore the omens that are already here. The climate crisis is hitting hardest those countries and communities that have the least resources to respond and recover".

Biden El Sisi
PHOTO/WHITE HOUSE  -   Greeting between the Presidents of the United States and Egypt, Joe Biden and Abdel Fattah El Sisi

During the election campaign that brought him to the Oval Office, Biden promised not to give "any blank cheque" to El Sisi, whom Trump once called his "favourite dictator". But there was no tension between the two, quite the contrary. The conversation took place in a close and conciliatory tone, in line with what is expected between the leaders of two close allies in the Middle East.  

Biden thanked El Sisi for his role as mediator between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip. The Egyptian president reaffirmed Cairo's "unwavering" commitment to reaching a solution that guarantees the rights of the Palestinian people within the framework of UN resolutions. In the same vein, the US president praised Egypt's role as a check dam for terrorism and regional extremism, according to Egypt Today.  

"President Biden expressed US solidarity with Egypt in the face of the global economic and food security challenges caused by Russia's war against Ukraine, as well as support for Egypt's water rights," the White House said, referring to the regional dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which could deprive the Nile River of much of its flow through Egypt.

Pelosi El Sisi
PHOTO/NANCY PELOSI  -   The American and Egyptian Presidents Joe Biden and Abdel Fattah El Sisi meet at COP27

One of the controversies that have plagued the North African country's image throughout COP27 is the state of health of Alaa Abdel Fattah, the Egyptian-British activist last arrested in 2019 for spreading fake news. The popular blogger, who gained visibility before the 2011 fall of dictator Hosni Mubarak, began a hunger strike last week to protest his situation.  

Biden, when asked about his case after meeting with El Sisi, replied that the subject of the conversation had been about "the US-Egypt relationship". The statement issued afterwards by the White House notes that the president did raise "the importance of human rights and respect for fundamental freedoms" in his face-to-face meeting with El Sisi, as did US Congress speaker Nancy Pelosi a day earlier.

America Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra