Vice President Mike Pence will reportedly travel to Egypt later this month to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and other officials. He will visit Cairo ahead of trips to Jordan and Israel from January 19-23. Pence was originally scheduled to make the visit in late December 2017, but it was postponed allegedly to allow him to be present for a consequential tax reform vote in the U.S. Congress. Some speculated that the travel was instead delayed in relation to the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel.
Prior to the original visit, one Trump administration official said, “I think it’s particularly important that [Pence] is choosing Egypt as the first nation. And he’s sending a very strong signal that Egypt is an incredibly important partner and that we have many issues to discuss with Egypt that we work on together and I think that they will have a really open dialogue about concerns on both sides. And I think President el-Sisi […] is very much looking forward to welcoming Vice President Pence for a very substantive bilateral meeting.”
Dozens of Members of Congress have urged Pence to address human rights issues, including the ongoing crackdown against Egypt’s NGO and LGBTQ communities, the protection of Coptic Christians, and the imprisonment of a number of American citizens in Egypt.