President Trump met at the White House Friday with an Egyptian-American woman whose freedom he had personally worked to secure after she had been imprisoned in Egypt for nearly three years.
Mr. Trump greeted Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian who holds U.S. citizenship, in the Oval Office shortly after her return to the U.S. on a military flight from Cairo.
“We are very happy to have Aya back home, and it’s a great honor to have her in the Oval Office,” Mr. Trump said.
She was accompanied by her brother in the meeting, which was also attended by presidential aides Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Dina Powell, a National Security Council official who was born in Egypt.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Mr. Trump was “directly engaged behind the scenes” on behalf of Ms. Hijazi. She was flown to the U.S. after being acquitted by a Cairo court of human trafficking charges stemming from her work with street children.
Mr. Trump raised the issue of her imprisonment with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi privately during his visit to the White House earlier this month, Mr. Spicer said. He said the president “made it clear to the Egyptian government how important it was to him that this American be released and returned.”
Mr. Spicer said the president took an interest in her case soon after taking office, and directed his national-security team to work on gaining the woman’s release.
“The president and the team worked behind the scenes in a much more productive way … to achieve the results,” he said. “This was handled primarily through diplomatic channels.”
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