Following US President Obama’s definition of Cairo as ‘neither an ally nor a foe,’ Egypt’s president has responded to his claim, urging Washington to change its approach to the Arab world in order to repair relations.
Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi has urged the United States to change its approach to the Arab world in order to repair relations and revitalize its alliance with Egypt.
“Successive American administrations have essentially purchased with American taxpayer money the dislike – if not the hatred – of the peoples of the region,” the president told The New York Times in an interview. He was referring to U.S. backing of dictatorial governments in the region and Washington’s unconditional support for Israel. The remarks followed days of violent anti-American protests in Cairo sparked by an amateur anti-Islamic film posted on YouTube.
Morsi praised U.S. President Barack Obama for moving “decisively and quickly” to support the Arab Spring revolutions, arguing that the United States supported “the right of the people of the region to enjoy the same freedoms that Americans have,” according to Agence France-Presse. But he also expressed concern about the plight of Palestinians, who still don’t have their own state.
Americans, he pointed out, “have a special responsibility” for the Palestinians because the United States signed the 1978 Camp David accord, which called for Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza to allow for full Palestinian self-rule. Morsi was scheduled to travel to New York yesterday to take part in a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.
“As long as peace and justice are not fulfilled for the Palestinians, then the treaty remains unfulfilled,” he said. According to The New York Times, Morsi was evasive when asked if he considered the United States an ally.
“That depends on your definition of ally,” he said, adding that he considered the two nations “real friends.” The issue was thrust to the forefront of bilateral relations earlier this month, when President Obama said that Cairo was “neither an ally nor a foe.”
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland and other top administration officials then tried to distance from Obama’s comment by acknowledging that officially Egypt was still “major non-NATO ally.”
In his interview, Morsi also reaffirmed his links to the Muslim Brotherhood. “I grew up with the Muslim Brotherhood,” the president said. “I learned my principles in the Muslim Brotherhood. I learned how to love my country with the Muslim Brotherhood. I learned politics with the Brotherhood. I was a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Morsi initially sought to meet with President Obama at the White House, the daily said, but he received a cool reception, and the idea was dropped.
(Hürriyet Daily News)