Morsi tells NY Times US needs to show greater respect for Arab values, Palestine

Ahram Online, Yasmine Wali, Sunday 23 Sep 2012

President Mohamed Morsi calls on the US to 'fundamentally change' its approach to the Arab world, in particular rebuilding relations with Egypt, 'a cornerstone of regional stability'

NY Times

Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi spoke to The New York Times before travelling on his first official trip to the United States on Saturday, stating that "The United States needs to show greater respect for its values and help build a Palestinian state, if it hopes to overcome decades of pent up anger."

Egypt's Islamist president said the US needed to fundamentally change its approach to the Arab world. "Washington has to repair relations with the Arab world and revitalise the alliance with Egypt, long a cornerstone of regional stability."

The president highlighted that Washington "should live up" to its own Camp David commitment to Palestinian "self rule." Morsi further added that "The United States must respect the Arab world's history and culture, even when that conflicts with Western values."

The president also commented on criticism directed at him for "not acting fast enough" to move to condemn protesters who recently climbed over the wall of the US Embassy in Cairo and burned the American flag in anger over a YouTube video that mocked the Prophet Mohamed and defamed Islam.

“We can never condone this kind of violence, but we need to deal with the situation wisely,” he said, noting that the embassy employees "were never in danger."

Morsi, who will travel to New York on Sunday for the UN General Assembly, arrives in the US at a "delicate" moment.

He faces political pressure at home on how to solve economic and social problems amid a growing strike movement, and pressure from the West for "reassurances" that Egypt under Islamist rule will remain a stable partner.

A particular focus is the Camp David Accords, signed by former President Anwar El-Sadat and that led to a permanent peace treaty with Israel. Camp David has been repeatedly questioned in Islamist and wider Arab circles. Public sentiment in Egypt is largely in favour of renegotiating the framework agreement.

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