Washington, April 2, 2018 (AFP)

The United States wants to build on its “strategic partnership” with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the State Department said Monday, despite its concerns over political freedom in his country.
“The United States values its strong partnership with Egypt and will continue to work to advance our shared objectives,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said after Sisi won a second term with 97 percent of the vote.
But Nauert added: “We have noted reports of constraints on freedoms of expression and association in the run-up to the elections.”
Earlier, the head of Egypt’s election authority, Lasheen Ibrahim, had told a news conference that turnout in last week’s polling was 41.05 percent of the almost 60 million registered voters.
He said 92.73 percent of the votes were valid from the roughly 24 million cast, and that Sisi’s former ardent supporter Moussa Mostafa Moussa had won only 2.92 percent, leaving the rest to the incumbent.
“Following his re-election, we look forward to continuing to work with President Abdelfattah al-Sisi to advance our strategic partnership and address our common challenges,” Nauert said.
Washington, she added, would “encourage respect for and protection of basic rights and freedoms.
“We will continue to encourage a broadening of opportunities for political participation for Egyptians, and emphasize the importance of the protection of human rights and the vital role of civil society in Egypt.”