Donald Trump once referred to Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as his "favourite dictator" as he awaited a meeting with the world leader, according to a new report.

The comment, detailed in a new Wall Street Journal report, was met with stunned silence from American and Egyptian officials, who had gathered inside the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, France for this year's G7 summit.

"Where's my favourite dictator?" Mr Trump is reported to have said in a loud voice, several people who were in the room told the Journal.

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Those witnesses said that they believed his comment was made in jest, but was nonetheless met with muted response. It is not clear if Mr Sisi was in the room, or if he heard the comment.

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