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US complex relations with Egypt may improve following Economic Summit - Daily News Egypt

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US complex relations with Egypt may improve following Economic Summit

The US partnership thrived under toppled president Hosni Mubarak’s reign


EEDCThe relations with the US government are lukewarm, Kandil said. We do not understand the dimensions of US policy towards Egypt, he added.

This is how he regards the complex US-Egyptian situation. The US continues to comment on Egyptian politics; meanwhile cooperation does not end.

The US partnership thrived under toppled president Hosni Mubarak’s reign. Over the past 35 years, the US has provided over $40bn worth of military aid to Egypt, second only to Israel, according to an Atlantic Council report.

US Secretary of State John Kerry held numerous meetings with Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry since the toppling of President Moahmed Morsi  (Photo Ministry of Foreign Affairs Handout)
US Secretary of State John Kerry held numerous meetings with Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry since the toppling of President Moahmed Morsi
(Photo Ministry of Foreign Affairs Handout)

These once familiar Egyptian-US relations have worsened since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. The US is a critic of Egypt’s crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members and political activists.

“The US does not comprehend until now that the current regime is most representative of the [Egyptian] people,” Kandil said.

During Egypt’s 2013 interim-government, the US had halted the transfer of F-16 fighter jets, M1A1 tank kits, Harpoon missiles and Apache helicopters, only to release $572m of the total $1.3bn military aid again in June.

Yet, the US will be present at the Economic Summit.

“US companies are after their interests. Investing in a market as big as Egypt could contribute to enhancing the US-Egyptian relations and changing the US’s policy towards Egypt,” Kandil stated.

Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin declaring that the Egypt and his country might use their national currencies in the settlement of accounts in bilateral trade, US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said she does not believe the use of US dollars between Egypt and Russia will end.

The US is “worried about the close ties between Egypt and Russia,” Al Ezabawy said.

He also said that Al-Sisi’s election as Egypt’s president was not welcomed in the USA to begin with, which explains why most US delegations to Egypt are from the legislative authorities, and not from official executive authorities.

Al-Sisi, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, and Defence Minister Sedkhi Sobhi met a US Congress delegation Saturday, including key figures from the House of Representatives’ committees overseeing defence and foreign aid.

US foreign aid to Egypt had been a pivotal point since former president Mohamed Morsi’s overthrow. Military aid to Egypt was temporarily suspended, as the world power regarded the overthrow as a military coup, sparking US concerns over democracy in Egypt.

In December, a new drafting of the US budget was worded so that Egypt must work towards democratic transition in order to qualify for the over $1bn military support it receives annually. However, it also included a new article allowing for the Secretary of State to privately supersede the conditions on grounds of “national security”. It was a waiver absent from the previous spending bill, which to some indicated that the US had sidelined human rights and democratic transition in favour of regional security issues.

Secretary of State John Kerry had visited Egypt and met with Egyptian officials, including President Al-Sisi, on numerous occasions since the overthrow of Morsi, stressing that “Egypt remains a key partner for the United States and a leader in the region”.

Obama has ambitions that do not comply with the conditions in the region, Kandil assumed. These ambitions collided with the Egyptian people’s choice to banish the Muslim Brotherhood from power. Obama failed at implementing his vision for the region.

On the other hand, the US seems to be aiding Egypt with its declared fight against terrorism.

During the Saturday meeting, talks focussed on joint military cooperation between the “friendly” Egypt and US, namely efforts to fight terrorism and establish security in the Middle East. The delegation also “stressed their keenness…to support Egypt in its war against terror”.

Egypt had requested US military assistance, referring to its counterterrorism efforts in North Sinai. In December, Egypt was handed 10 Apache helicopters from the US as part of US military aid to Egypt.

Egypt further supports the international coalition led by the US to confront “Islamic State”.

“The Egyptian-US relations will not go back to the state they were in during the Mubarak era,” Abdel Qader said.

Al-Ezabawy agreed, explaining that with the completion of the roadmap, the success of national projects, and the enhancement of the Egyptian relations with the European Union and Asian countries, US-Egyptian relations will never be as strong as during the Mubarak and Morsi eras.

“Perhaps with the next office the situation between Egypt and the US could get better,” Kandil said.

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https://dailyfeed.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/03/13/us-complex-relations-with-egypt-may-improve-following-economic-summit/
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