RECOMMENDED READING: “Egyptian Leader Mohamed Morsi Spells Out Terms For U.S.-Arab Ties”


Egyptian Leader Mohamed Morsi Spells Out Terms for U.S.-Arab Ties – “Egypt’s New Leader Spells Out Terms for U.S.-Arab Ties

The New York Times has published a long interview with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in which he said “it was up to Washington to repair relations with the Arab world and to revitalize the alliance with Egypt.” The interview begins:

 Published: September 22, 2012  A former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mr. Morsi sought in a 90-minute interview with The New York Times to introduce himself to the American public and to revise the terms of relations between his country and the United States after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, an autocratic but reliable ally. He said it was up to Washington to repair relations with the Arab world and to revitalize the alliance with Egypt, long a cornerstone of regional stability. If Washington is asking Egypt to honor its treaty with Israel, he said, Washington should also live up to its own Camp David commitment to Palestinian self-rule. He said the United States must respect the Arab world’s history and culture, even when that conflicts with Western values. And he dismissed criticism from the White House that he did not move fast enough to condemn protesters who recently climbed over the United States Embassy wall and burned the American flag in anger over a video that mocked the Prophet Muhammad. ‘We took our time’ in responding to avoid an explosive backlash, he said, but then dealt ‘decisively’ with the small, violent element among the demonstrators. ‘We can never condone this kind of violence, but we need to deal with the situation wisely,’ he said, noting that the embassy employees were never in danger. Mr. Morsi, who will travel to New York on Sunday for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, arrives at a delicate moment. He faces political pressure at home to prove his independence, but demands from the West for reassurance that Egypt under Islamist rule will remain a stable partner. Mr. Morsi, 61, whose office was still adorned with nautical paintings that Mr. Mubarak left behind, said the United States should not expect Egypt to live by its rules. ‘If you want to judge the performance of the Egyptian people by the standards of German or Chinese or American culture, then there is no room for judgment,’ he said. ‘When the Egyptians decide something, probably it is not appropriate for the U.S. When the Americans decide something, this, of course, is not appropriate for Egypt.’ He suggested that Egypt would not be hostile to the West, but would not be as compliant as Mr. Mubarak either.”

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