London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Relations between the US and Egypt are experiencing “turmoil,” Egypt’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Speaking to Egypt’s Al-Ahram newspaper, Nabil Fahmy said: “We are now in a delicate state reflecting the turmoil in the relationship and anyone who says otherwise is not speaking honestly.”
This instability will “reflect negatively on the entire region, including American interests,” he added.
Fahmy made his comments a week after Washington announced it was suspending some of the USD 1.3 billion in aid it provides to Egypt every year. In particular shipments of major weapons systems, including fighter jets and tanks, were frozen following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood backed president Mohamed Mursi on July 3.
Assistance to border security and anti-terrorism operations remain unchanged, according to the US State Department.
Despite the troubles in the relationship between the two states, Fahmy said it would not lead to changes in Egyptian policy. “At the same time, I am not very worried about this unrest in relations,” he said. “The Egyptian people will not hesitate to bear the consequences of such a situation in order to preserve their freedom of choice after two revolutions.”
Nor would it lead to the US turning away from Egypt for good, said Fahmy, because it is “the heart and mind of the Arab world,” while Egypt would continue to engage with the US because of its superpower status.
However, Fahmy added that both Egypt and the US would be forced to re-evaluate the nature of their ties, which he said could have a positive impact: “This unrest will equally serve Egypt and the US because both will reconsider and better estimate their relationship in the future.”
“The truth is that the problem goes back much earlier, and is caused by the dependence of Egypt on the US aid for 30 years. [The aid] made us choose the easy option and not diversify our options,” the minister said.
The US annual aid program for Egypt, the second largest to any single state in the world, dates back to the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, which was brokered by the US.