Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Egypt’s president is U.S. critic, but he could be an ally

The Washington Post

"....And yet, U.S. officials and analysts express guarded optimism that Washington can build a strong working relationship with the veteran Muslim Brotherhood politician, whose victory was confirmed Sunday. Morsi and his aides say that they, too, are upbeat about the future of Egypt’s relationship with the United States, though not without caveats.....

The U.S. will have leverage with the Brotherhood because the Brotherhood needs the U.S. and Europe for Egypt’s long-term economic recovery,” said Shadi Hamid, an Egypt expert at the Brookings Doha Center who has met with Morsi and several Brotherhood leaders in recent months. “They are going to need billions of dollars in loans and investments if they want to turn around their economy.”

Morsi spokesman and adviser Gehad Haddad said the incoming president, who earned a PhD in Southern California during the 1970s, has begun to build healthy relationships with U.S. officials.

“We expect and will work towards a strong strategic relationship” with Washington, Haddad said in an interview Monday. “It will help to bridge the gap between how both populations view each other.”.....

Those efforts are seen as imperative to safeguarding Egypt’s decades-old peace treaty with Israel. In an interview with The Washington Post in February 2011, when Morsi was the head of the Brotherhood’s newly formed Freedom and Justice Party, he said upending the treaty was not a priority. But he described the status quo of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as unacceptable.....

Haddad, his spokesman, said Monday that “we will not be the party that breaks this treaty.” But he added that Egyptians would see “very swift” and significant changes in the country’s policy toward Israel....."

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