Egypt-US tension crucial for Middle East: Foreign Minister

Ahram Online, Wednesday 16 Oct 2013

Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy says the current strain in US-Egyptian relations could yield beneficial negotiations if effectively analysed by both parties

Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy (Photo: AP)

The current strain in US-Egyptian relations is more critical than ever because it comes at a crucial time for the entire Middle East, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said on Wednesday.

In an interview conducted by the state-owned daily Al-Ahram, Fahmy said the current Egypt-US tension will reflect on the whole region and impact US interests there, adding that Egypt’s "forthcoming success," however, will also influence the area.

"At the same time, I am not very worried about this unrest in relations," he said, "The Egyptian people will not hesitate to bear the consequences of such a situation in order to preserve their freedom of choice after two revolutions."

"In addition, this unrest will equally serve Egypt and the US because both will reconsider and better estimate their relationship in the future," the minister added.

Fahmy said the US will continue to maintain communication with, and interest in, Egypt because it is "the heart and mind of the Arab world" and, similarly, Egypt realises that the US is a key world power.

He added that he believes each country should inspect its contribution to the situation and follow this with an official Egypt-US discussion on future relations.

Last week, the US said it would withhold deliveries of tanks, fighter aircrafts, helicopters and missiles, as well as $260 million in cash aid, from Egypt's interim government pending progress on democracy and human rights.

US officials stated that the decision demonstrated unhappiness with Egypt's path since the 3 July ouster of president Mohamed Morsi resulting from mass protests against him.

However, the US added it would continue to provide funding that benefits the Egyptian people in such areas as education, health and the development of the private sector.

In response, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said the decision was "errant in both substance and timing."

Ministry Spokesman Badr Abdel-Ati said "Egypt will take decisions regarding its internal affairs in a manner independent of external influences, and will secure the consistent and stable provision of its vital needs particularly with regards to its national security."

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