Defense secretary looks to rebuild trust in Egypt visit

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President Donald Trump met Friday at the White House with an Egyptian-American charity worker who was freed after almost three years of detention in Egypt.

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis meets Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and top brass in Cairo on Thursday, pledging support for the American ally on his first regional tour.

She was flown to the USA after being acquitted by a Cairo court of human trafficking charges stemming from her work with street children.

But with the Trump administration resetting relations with Egypt, McMullen said his team worked closely with the White House to negotiate her release.

The talks built off discussions that Mattis and el-Sissi held April 5 at the Pentagon, during the Egyptian president's visit to Washington earlier this month when he also met with President Donald Trump.

The acquittal of Hijazi, her husband, and four other humanitarian workers reportedly came about as the result of President Donald Trump's (right) intervention.

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Aya Hijazi sits reading a book inside a holding cell as she faces trial on charges of human trafficking, sexual exploitation of minors and using children in protests at a courthouse in Cairo, Egypt, on March 23, 2017.

Aya Hijazi, 30, was flown home on a US government plane Thursday after she was freed by a Cairo court on April 16. Hijazi, an Egyptian-American charity worker was freed after almost three years of detention in Egypt returning to the U.S., Thursday, April 20, 2017. Mattis' visit symbolizes a distinct warming of relations between the USA and Egypt in contrast to the Obama administration.

The diplomat who spoke under condition of anonymity told the Qatari media that the faith of the USA worker was addressed, even though not officially, two weeks when the Egyptian leader al-Sisi visited his American counterpart in Washington.

Hijazi and Hassanein reunited with the Hijazi family in Cairo this week, and as Mattis travelled on to Israel, Powell, who was born in Egypt and has helped smooth relations between the two countries, stayed behind to accompany the group, the senior administration official said. "We're crying with relief to have them out". That meeting is not listed on the official White House schedule.

"We're very grateful that President Trump personally engaged with the issue".

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