Donald Trump will welcome Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt’s strongman president, to the White House on Monday amid criticism from human rights groups.
Unlike former US leader Barack Obama, Mr Trump has expressed admiration for the former general who came to power in a coup in 2013.
In September Mr Trump said: "He’s a fantastic guy. Took control of Egypt, and he really took control of it.”
The White House described the visit as a chance to “reboot the bilateral relationship” between the US and Egypt, which it called “one of the traditional pillars of stability in the Middle East".
Mr Sisi was among the very first world leaders to congratulate Mr Trump, both after his election victory and his inauguration.
Egypt is a total mess. We should have backed Mubarak instead of dropping him like a dog.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 12 December 2012
They spoke by phone on January 23, just days after the inauguration, and discussed ways to boost the fight against terrorism. the two men also met during the campaign in New York last September.
He had strained relationships with Mr Obama and was never invited to the White House.
Mr Sisi has also been been spurned by others in the international community. Under his rule, Egypt has seen a spike in terror activity, mass trials and a crackdown on civil liberties dissent.
Human Rights Watch said the visit came at a time when human rights are at a "nadir in Egypt".
Sisi-Trump Meeting Shows Mutual Contempt for Rights https://t.co/mHnuRraGAL— Human Rights Watch (@hrw) 2 April 2017
The White House extolled the “close relationship” between the US and Egyptian military, and said the US was determined to support efforts to stabilise the Egyptian economy.
The US-Egypt alliance dates to Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel, and since 1987 has included $1.3bn annually in military aid as well as access to US military equipment.
A White House spokesman said: "The president is excited to welcome the Egyptian President. His initial interactions, including their phone call on January 23rd, have already improved the tone of the relationship, and we hope next week’s visit continues this positive momentum."
The government plan to transfer the uninhabited islands to Saudi Arabia triggered public outcry in Egypt.