The US has expressed readiness to engage with the government of Egypt’s ex-army chief and the declared winner of the recent election Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led the 2013 overthrow of the country’s Mohamed Morsi.
In a Wednesday statement, the White House expressed eagerness to work with the former military strongman to advance what it described as the US and Egypt’s strategic partnership.
The statement said Washington looked forward to working with Sisi “to advance our strategic partnership and the many interests shared by the United States and Egypt.”
Egypt’s electoral commission announced on Tuesday that Sisi had won the country’s recent presidential election, garnering 96.9 percent of the votes. This is while over half of the nation’s eligible voters did not take part in the poll. Some movements that had boycotted the vote say the voter turnout was about 11 percent.
The election was held after the Egyptian army, under Sisi’s command, toppled Morsi on July 3 and then engaged in a massive crackdown on his supporters and the people affiliated with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Many of Egypt’s opposition groups, including major Islamic factions, had boycotted the recent election.
The United States, however, firmly refrained from referring to the military-led change of government in Egypt as a coup. Such an assessment would have legally forced Washington to stop providing Egypt with billions in annual US military aid, reserved only for Israel and Egypt.
In its statement, the White House said observers found that the elections were held in accordance with Egyptian law. But it also expressed concern about what it called the “restrictive political environment” in which the voting took place and urged Sisi’s new government to step up rights reforms.