News / Middle East

Egyptian Foreign Minister: Relations With US in Turmoil

File - Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy during a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah.File - Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy during a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
x
File - Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy during a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
File - Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy during a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Reuters
Relations between the United States and Egypt are now in turmoil and the entire Middle East could suffer, the Egyptian foreign minister said in remarks made a week after Washington moved to curtail military aid to Cairo.

Nabil Fahmy told state-run Al-Ahram newspaper that Egypt had been dependent on U.S. aid for too long but Washington was wrong to assume the Cairo government would always follow its line.

“We are now in a delicate state reflecting the turmoil in the relationship and anyone who says otherwise is not speaking honestly,” he said in comments published on Wednesday.

U.S. officials said the aid cut reflected Washington's unhappiness with Egypt's path since the army overthrew freely-elected President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood on July 3.

Egypt has already criticized the decision and suggested it could turn to other countries for military aid, possibly Russia.

Egyptian security forces have cracked down hard on Islamists since the army seized power, killing hundreds and arresting thousands, including Morsi and other leaders accused of inciting or carrying out violence.

Muslim Brotherhood leaders say they face more severe repression than under veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled by a popular uprising in 2011. The army-backed government calls the Brotherhood terrorists.

Islamists accuse the military of staging a coup and sabotaging democratic gains made since Mubarak's demise.

Egypt has long been the second-largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel and its military - the largest in the Arab world - has worked closely with Washington for decades.

The United States now faces a policy dilemma - how to promote democracy while not alienating an Arab ally which has a peace treaty with Israel and controls the strategic Suez Canal.

Fahmy said an extended period of instability in ties would “reflect negatively on the entire region, including American interests.”

The current situation was not solely the result of the U.S. decision to withhold aid, he said.

“The truth is that the problem goes back much earlier, and is caused by the dependence of Egypt on the U.S. aid for 30 years. [The aid] made us choose the easy option and not diversify our options,” he said.

The long-standing military relationship caused Washington to wrongly assume that Egypt would always go along with its policies and goals, Fahmy said.

Turn to Russia ?

Most worrying for the United States is the possibility that the army will turn to a rival country for military aid.

Egypt's army is exploring its options. Military sources told Reuters last week that the army is planning to diversify its source of weapons, including a possible turn to Russia.

The government has insisted Egypt would not bow to U.S. pressure, saying it found American policy strange at a time when the country was facing what it calls a war against terrorism.

U.S. military aid to Cairo, put at $1.3 billion a year, was born out of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

The U.S. State Department made clear it was not cutting off all aid and would continue military support for counterterrorism and security in the Sinai, bordering Israel, where al-Qaida-inspired militants have stepped up attacks on soldiers and police since Morsi's overthrow.

Egypt's Western allies had been trying to persuade the government and Muslim Brotherhood to engage in an inclusive political process, but neither side demonstrated enough flexibility to ease the crisis.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs