Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) welcomes U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, April 20, 2017. (Reuters photo)
CAIRO, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi met U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis in Cairo on Thursday, state-run MENA news agency reported.
The visit came after a meeting between Sisi and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump at White House earlier this month.
Sisi told Mattis that he hoped to continue their talks over military cooperation which started during the Egyptian leader's visit to Washington, MENA quoted Egyptian Presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef as saying.
Sisi lauded the strategic relations between Egypt and the United States, saying Egyptian-American relations managed to overcome many hardships that emerged over the past years, the spokesman said.
"President Sisi expressed Egypt's keenness that relations with the United States would witness a strong boom under the Trump administration," the spokesman said.
The spokesman also said that Sisi underlined the importance of drying up funding sources of terrorism and sending a decisive message to terrorism-sponsoring countries to stop financing terror organizations and supplying arms.
The U.S. defense official in turn said his country is looking forward to more cooperation with Egypt to face the unprecedented challenges currently in the Middle East and the entire world.
Mattis said the United States is keen to take the bilateral defense cooperation, which he describes as strong, to higher level.
He also praised Egypt's pivotal role in fighting terrorism and backing regional stability, saying the United States fully supports Egyptian efforts in this field.
Mattis' visit to Egypt is part of a regional tour that began with a visit to Saudi Arabia.
The bilateral relations between Egypt and U.S. worsened during Trump's predecessor Barrack Obama's administration after the Egyptian military ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in 2013.
The ties, however, have improved under the new U.S. administration of President Trump, who pledged to support the key U.S. ally with 1.3 billion U.S. dollars annually in military aid.