Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy speaks to members of the media during his meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, April 29, 2014 (Photo: AP)
Egypt's relationship with the US has improved, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said in a televised interview on Tuesday.
Talking to Sky News Arabia satellite channel, Fahmy said that since Egypt had designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, it had requested that the US cut all ties with the group.
“We do not think dealing with a group that has been labelled terrorist is appropriate, and we do not deal with organisations that have been designated as terrorist by foreign countries.”
Bilateral relations between the two countries have soured since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, in July 2013 amid massive protests against his rule. The US has been vocal critic of the Egyptian interim authorities since then.
In October of last year, Washington withheld from the Egyptian government deliveries of tanks, fighter aircraft, helicopters and missiles, as well as $260 million in cash aid, saying it was awaiting progress in the areas of democracy and human rights.
However, the Obama administration said last month it had decided to certify that Egypt was upholding its 35-year-old peace treaty with Israel and, therefore, qualified for some military and counter-terrorism assistance. A congressional aide said the decision cleared the way for the release of Apache helicopters to Egypt. The move also allows the US to release some of its annual $1.3 billion military assistance package to Egypt, specifically those parts dealing with security in the Sinai Peninsula and counter-terrorism efforts.
In reference to US condemnation of the death sentences handed down to hundreds of alleged Morsi supporters in recent weeks, Fahmy said he had explained to US congressmen and officials that “the Egyptian judiciary is independent and that it has its own tools by which it revises its decisions through appeals.”
Last month, a judge in Upper Egypt’s Minya sentenced 683 alleged Morsi supporters to death over the killing of a policeman. In a separate case he confirmed the same sentence against 37 alleged Morsi supporters.
Fahmy noted that the US decision to release some of its aid was a sign that relations were improving between the two countries.
However, he added: “It [the relationship between the two countries] should move to a new stage where there is mutual respect and where the relationship is equal.”