US First Lady Melania Trump meets Egyptian President El-Sisi on final Africa tour stop

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US first lady Melania Trump visits the Pyramids in Cairo. (Reuters)
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US First Lady Melania Trump walks walks with her Egyptian counterpart Intissar Amer (C-R) upon arrival at Cairo International Airport in Cairo, October 6, 2018, for the final stop on the former's 4-country tour through Africa. (AFP)
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US first lady Melania Trump visits the Pyramids in Cairo. (Reuters)
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US first lady Melania Trump visits the Pyramids in Cairo. (Reuters)
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Melania Trump meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Egyptian first lady Entissar Mohameed Amer at the Presidential Palace in Cairo. (Reuters)
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Melania Trump is welcomed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi upon her arrival at the Presidential palace in Cairo. (AFP)
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US first lady Melania Trump visits the Pyramids in Cairo. (Reuters)
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US first lady Melania Trump visits the Pyramids in Cairo. (Reuters)
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First lady Melania Trump visits the ancient Sphinx. (AP)
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Melania Trump meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Egyptian first lady Entissar Mohameed Amer at the Presidential Palace in Cairo. (Reuters)
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Melania Trump waving from the pyramids in Cairo. (Reuters)
Updated 07 October 2018
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US First Lady Melania Trump meets Egyptian President El-Sisi on final Africa tour stop

  • Melania was due to meet President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi
  • The first lady is due to leave Egypt later on Saturday

CAIRO: Melania Trump held talks in the Egyptian capital Saturday on the final leg of a solo four-nation tour of Africa that will also see her visit the Pyramids.

US first lady’s visit only lasted a few hours but made quite an impact. The visit marked an end to her African tour which started in Ghana and included Malawi and Kenya. This was her first trip alone as the first lady.

There were intensive preparations at Cairo airport for her arrival. The streets of the capital were decorated with Egyptian and American flags. 

Intissar Amer El-Sisi, wife of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, greeted Melania at Cairo airport. 

The former model stepped off a plane at Cairo international airport wearing high-waisted white pants, a pleated white shirt and a black tie with a beige jacket hung over her shoulders.

The Egyptian first lady Intissar Amer El-Sisi, wore an ankle-length blue dress and matching headscarf.

The procession passed through the streets of Cairo amid a heavy police presence with officers lining the roads and rooftops all the way to the presidential palace, where she was received by the Egyptian president for an hour. 

Trump praised the "hospitality” of Egypt, and expressed her admiration and appreciation for the ancient Egyptian civilization and her pride in the friendship between the Egyptian and American peoples, according to a statement by the Egyptian presidency. 

She also expressed her keenness to promote cooperation between the two countries, especially in the social fields, as an extension of the fruitful partnership between Egypt and the United States.

The Egyptian-American talks dealt with a number of areas of cooperation between the two countries, how to coordinate them, and reviewed the Egyptian efforts in developing a number of sectors such as health, education and tourism, in addition to addressing the state's interest in enhancing the role of women in society.

During the visit, which coincided with the celebrations of Egypt’s 6 October victory against Israel in the Sinai Peninsula in 1973.

Melania then toured the pyramids of Giza accompanied by the Minister of Antiquities Dr. Khaled Al Anani, the Minister of Tourism Dr. Rania Al-Mashat and Dr. Mustafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Mosque of Antiquities. 

Photographers had a field day with the glamorously dresses Trump posing in front of the stunning ancient backdrops with a warm evening light.

Political analyst Mohamed Al-Ghabari said her visit to Egypt carried several signs. The fact her visit came on the symbolic Oct. 6, means the US administration is still supportive of Egyptian positions regarding the peace treaty with Israel. 

Her visit also sent “a message to the whole world that Egypt is safe,” and that Egyptian-American relations are at their strongest.

Reuters reported that Melania Trump said during the visit that she does not always agree with the wishes of her husband, and she tells him. 

Sometimes he listens to her, and sometimes not.

In Egypt, she made a rare comment to reporters, praising Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who faces sexual assault allegations. Speaking near the Great Sphinx, the first lady said she was glad he and his accuser had a chance to be heard.

"I think he's highly qualified for the Supreme Court," she said.

Kavanaugh, who denies the allegation, was confirmed by the Senate as a Supreme Court justice this weekend.

Reuters also reported that the first lady hoped everyone would focus on what she was doing and not on the clothes she wore.

Her comments came after she received sharp criticism for wearing a white hat while in Kenya which some said related to the colonial period. The same style hat was used by European explorers in parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East in the 19th century, and became a symbol of occupation.

Trump’s visit was designed to promote her children's welfare programme.

 


Coalition hits back over reported civilian deaths in east Syria

Updated 49 min ago
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Coalition hits back over reported civilian deaths in east Syria

  • 43 people were killed in the strikes launched by the coalition
  • The US-led coalition has consistently denied reports by the Observatory in recent days

BEIRUT: The US-led anti-militant coalition hit back Sunday at reports its air strikes on a Daesh group holdout in eastern Syria had killed civilians, appearing to blame their deaths on regime forces.
More than seven years into the country’s civil war, multiple offensives have whittled down the swathes of Syrian territory Daesh once controlled to a small pocket in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor on the Iraqi border.
A Kurdish-led alliance backed by the coalition is battling to expel Daesh from that holdout, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates.
Russian-backed regime forces have been fighting the militants west of the river.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said coalition strikes on Saturday killed 43 people, including 36 family members of Daesh fighters in the village of Abu Al-Husn.
But the coalition denied that its air raids there had killed any non-combatants.
The US envoy for the coalition, Brett McGurk on Sunday appeared to blame regime forces stationed “across the river” for the civilian casualties.
“Reports of civilian casualties attributed to coalition strikes are false. All other forces should cease uncoordinated fires from across the river immediately,” he said on Twitter.
In a statement late Saturday, the coalition reported 19 coalition strikes on Daesh targets “free of civilian presence” between late Friday and Saturday afternoon in the militant enclave, which includes the town of Hajjin.
The coalition’s “initial assessment following the strikes is that there was no evidence of civilians near the strikes,” it said.
But the coalition “detected a total of ten additional strikes in the same area of Hajjin that did not originate from the coalition or partner forces,” it added.
It called “on all other actors to cease uncoordinated fires across the Euphrates.”
The Observatory, a Britain-based war monitor, said regime forces and Daesh fighters exchanged fire across the river on Saturday, but pro-government shelling did not hit Abu Al-Husn.
The US-led international coalition has consistently denied reports by the Observatory in recent days that its air raids have killed civilians.
It says it takes allegations of civilian casualties seriously and investigates each one thoroughly.
Daesh overran large swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” in land it controlled.
But the militant group has since lost most of it to offensives by multiple forces in both countries.
On Saturday, Syrian regime forces retook control of the group’s last holdout in the country’s south as the militants retreated into the desert after months of fighting, the Observatory said.
Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people since it erupted in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.
Since 2014, the US-led coalition has acknowledged direct responsibility for over 1,100 civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq, but rights groups put the number much higher.