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'We are ready to meet with all foreign officials, ‎including Israelis,' says top Egyptian lawmaker

Two US embassy delegations visited Egypt's ‎parliament on Sunday and Monday to discuss ‎cooperation in security, military and economic ‎areas

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 16 May 2016
Egyptian parliament (Reuters)
Egyptian parliament (Reuters)
Views: 2821
Views: 2821

Kamal Amer, chairman of the Egyptian parliament's ‎Defence and National Security Committee, told reporters ‎on Monday that Egyptian-American relations have ‎largely improved in recent months, adding that "we are ‎ready to hold meetings with all foreign officials, ‎including Israelis, as long as these meetings serve ‎our interests."

"We know that ‎these relations have suffered a setback since 30 June ‎‎[when former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi ‎was ousted from office in an uprising in 2013]," said ‎Amer.

"We hope that what happened ‎was just a summer cloud and that relations ‎between us" are normalised.

Amer's press statement came after he met with the ‎US embassy's advisor for political affairs on Monday ‎to discuss cooperation between the two countries in ‎security and military areas. ‎

The meeting came upon the request of the ‎advisor, according to Amer.

Amer said that parliament's Defence and ‎National Security Committee is ready to hold ‎meetings with foreign officials from all ‎countries "as long as they do not go against ‎parliament's rules, have the speaker's prior approval, ‎and help serve the national security of Egypt."

Amer, a former chairman of Egypt's military ‎intelligence, said he hopes his meeting with the US ‎embassy advisor will reinforce ‎strategic cooperation between Egypt and America.‎

Amer said that he told the US official ‎that there is high potential for cooperation between ‎Egypt and the US in exchanging ‎intelligence, delegations and documents in the areas ‎of security and combating terrorism.

"I also told him ‎that the parliaments in the two countries can cooperate ‎in the area of drafting anti-terror laws," said Amer.‎

Many Egyptian MPs said they strongly support ‎president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's new policy aimed at ‎diversifying Egypt's sources of armament.

Also, many ‎MPs, a number of whom were members of former ‎president Hosni Mubarak's ruling party, are ‎hostile to US President Barack Obama's ‎administration.

One of these MPs told Ahram ‎Online that the last few years clearly showed that it ‎is highly risky to depend on one source for armaments.

"As the Obama administration proved to ‎be highly hostile to Egypt in the last two years, it ‎was necessary for President El-Sisi to turn to other ‎sources such as Russia, China and France," said the MP, who spoke on condition of anonymity.‎

Egypt's parliament approved last February a defence ‎loan agreement with France, helping ‎Egypt buy French military equipment at a record ‎value of 5.9 billion euros.‎

Egyptian MPs also believe that the Obama ‎administration was highly supportive of the Muslim ‎Brotherhood in Egypt.

"Not only did this administration ‎gave support for this group to take office in Egypt ‎after the removal of former president Hosni ‎Mubarak from office, but it still refuses to ‎designate this group as a terrorist organisation," said one ‎MP. ‎

He said that he and many Egyptian MPs have high hopes ‎that the US Congress will pass a law ‎declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist ‎group.

"We saw how many Republican ‎presidential candidates and congressmen accused ‎the Obama administration in recent months of ‎helping this group take power in Egypt, and we hope ‎that this will be reflected in a law imposing a ban on ‎its activities in the US," said the independent MP.‎

Many US congressional delegations have visited ‎Egypt in recent weeks, the most important of which ‎was one led by speaker of the US House of ‎Representatives Paul Ryan in April.‎

Republican senator and former presidential ‎candidate Lindsey Graham said in a visit to Egypt last ‎April that he wants a “Marshall Plan for the Middle ‎East” that would drastically increase US military aid ‎to Egypt and Arab Gulf states. ‎

Graham is the chairman of the US Senate ‎Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign ‎Operations, and Related Programs. He is also a ‎member of the Committee on Armed Services.‎

On Sunday, a US embassy economic delegation met with the head of the Egyptian parliament's Economic ‎Affairs Committee, Ali El-Moselhi. The delegation was ‎led by the US embassy's minister plenipotentiary for ‎economic affairs.‎

A statement by the committee said the meeting ‎involved a review of the economic laws expected to be ‎discussed by Egypt's parliament in the coming ‎period.

"The US embassy minister plenipotentiary ‎also reviewed the prospects of cooperation between ‎Egypt on one side and US-based international ‎finance institutions such as the World Bank in the ‎area of economic development," said the statement. ‎

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Sam Enslow
16-05-2016 08:44pm
Short Memories
I wish these Egyptian politicians would remember what they said, along with Egypt's media, when Morsy was elected. It was all about how the US would abandon Egypt because the US supported democracy if countries elected the 'right' people. 'Look at what they did to Hamas.' was a common observation. Egyptians - not Americans - voted for The Brotherhood. Only when Morsy broke every promise he made to be president of all Egyptians did the media announce the US supported Moray. During the 25 January Revolution, Mubarak stated Tahrir was a CIA operation while the youth proclaimed the US supported dictators only. When it was suggested Egypt write a constitution before elections, it was because the US only supported the Egyptian Army. Every political movement in Egypt claims the US supports the other side. I am sure if people get tired of Sisi he will be denounced as a tool of the Americans. Egypt made its political decisions on its own. No one forced them to do anything.
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16-05-2016 09:37pm
United by a common 'foe'
Sure you know the oldest trick in the political book of incompetence; when a government fails to unit their people for a common cause they unit them against a common foe. Israel served this purpose till peace was reached. Now, incompetent politicians need a new hock to hang their failures!

16-05-2016 08:21pm
Mutual Interests ...
"we are ‎ready to hold meetings with all foreign officials, ‎including Israelis, as long as they serve ‎our interests." ... no one cares about only "our interests" if they're not mutual. We need ALL of them for technology, security, investment, and tourism; while they do NOT need us! wake up!!
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