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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Melania Trump visits Egypt's Pyramids on final leg of Africa tour

The First Lady's low-key tour contrasts with political tumult back home in the US

US First Lady Melania Trump arrived in Egypt on Saturday on the final leg of a solo four-nation tour of Africa that will see her visit the pyramids.

The low-key tour contrasted with the political tumult back home where her husband was set to score a big political win on Saturday after days of acrimonious deadlock inside and outside the Senate over his Supreme Court pick.

Asked about the judge, Mrs Trump said he was "highly qualified" to join the court.

While she generously dished out warm smiles and happy waves, the first lady also used her four-nation tour of Africa to draw some firmer boundaries between her own views and those of her husband the president.

"I don't always agree with what he says and I tell him that," the first lady told reporters Saturday against the backdrop of the Great Sphinx before she headed back to Washington. "But I have my own voice and my own opinions and it's very important for me that I express what I feel."

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The former model stepped off the plane at Cairo international airport wearing high-waisted white pants, a pleated white shirt and a dark tie with a beige jacket slung over her shoulders.

She was welcomed by Egyptian First Lady Intissar Amer Al Sisi, an observant Muslim who wore an ankle-length blue dress and matching headscarf covering her hair.

Looking relaxed, Melania Trump beamed at the flower girls before heading to the airport's VIP lounge for formal photographs.

United States First lady Melania Trump at Nairobi National Park in Kenya on Friday. AP
United States First lady Melania Trump at Nairobi National Park in Kenya on Friday. AP

On the previous leg of her tour in Kenya, her choice of a white colonial-style pith helmet while on safari drew some criticism on Twitter, with one person comparing her look to that of a "colonial administrator".

In Egypt, tight security was in place across the capital for her visit which comes as security forces face a persistent militant insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula across the Suez Canal to the northeast.

During her whistlestop five-hour stay, the US First Lady was scheduled to visit the Pyramids of Giza and the new National Museum under construction next door.

Melania Trump, who is in Africa to promote her children's welfare programme, began her trip in Ghana, where she visited mothers and their newborns, and toured a former slave trading fort.

She then made a brief stop in Malawi where she toured a primary school.

On Thursday, her husband tweeted: "Our country's great First Lady, Melania, is doing really well in Africa. The people love her, and she loves them! It is a beautiful thing to see."

The US Senate is expected to give President Donald Trump a big political win later on Saturday by confirming conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh as the next Supreme Court justice.

Washington has been gripped by high drama and emotion for days, from the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford โ€“ who accused Judge Kavanaugh of sexual assault โ€“ to protests against his nomination which saw more than 300 arrests, including celebrities.