World Bulletin / News Desk
The military coup that took place in Egypt on 3 July 2013 saw the ousting of the democratically elected leader and Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammed Morsi, only to be replaced by an interim government led by Adly Mansour and the military general Abdulfattah As-Sisi. Reaction to this coup has been varied not only in Egypt, but also around the world.
While Arab countries in the Gulf, like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, have offered their direct support for the coup, Egypt’s long-term superpower ally, the United States, has withdrawn its military aid to Egypt despite refusing to recognize the event as a coup. Since this development, many political commentators have seen Egypt’s drawing closer to Russia as a natural consequence.
Following the coup, Egypt’s interim government sent a ‘popular diplomacy’ delegation to Moscow to reaffirm ties between the two countries. During the visit, the delegation met with Russia’s Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and attended a meeting held at the Russian Institute of Oriental Studies in order to raise awareness of the political situation in Egypt and to seek support for their cause.
Egypt’s former Foreign Minister Raouf Saad was also a part of the delegation. He spoke to Lebanese news source As-Safir on Egypt’s relations with Russia following the meeting and what this means for their ties with the US.
Commenting on those who point out a correlation between strengthening ties with Russia and weakening ties with the US, Saad denied that the US was being replaced with Russia saying ‘‘Diplomatically and publically, Egypt does not see Russia as a substitute for the United States.’’ He added, ‘‘Russia is not a substitute, rather an authentic partner for Egypt.’’
However, Saad did acknowledge Egypt and Russia’s mutual interest in combating insurgency in their countries, stressing the cooperation between Egyptian and Russian intelligence. Moreover, while stating that Egypt wants to remain open for business with all foreign nations, Egypt will not be affiliated with any one particular foreign party. On the other hand, when asked about posters of Russian president Vladimir Putin that were being displayed during the 30 June protests prior to the coup, Saad said ‘‘the people want to choose their diplomatic inclination and relations.’’
Although Egypt was a key US ally during the reign of Hosni Mubarak, Saad said that he did not believe Egypt’s moving closer to Russia would damage US-Egypt relations. ‘‘In the past, relations could be channeled in one sense. But, now, relations with a certain country should not be boycotted for any reason. I believe that Egypt has to realize that and change its foreign plans. It should have both the West and the East as economic, political and military targets,’’ he said.
Egypt has apparently remodeled itself as a non-aligned state, and is now asserting every decision it makes regarding its internal and external affairs as its own, free of foreign influence.
The ousted president Mohammed Morsi is currently being charged with colluding with the Palestinian government of Gaza, Hamas, which has been listed as a ‘terrorist’ organization by the Egyptian authorities. Many consider this to be typical rhetoric of the former Mubarak regime, which was an ally of neighbor Israel. Therefore, even though Egypt claims to be asserting the independent will of the Egyptian people, many feel Egyptian politics is once again being Israelized.
Millions of Egyptian citizens have protested against the coup all over the country in the past four months, with the authorities using live ammunition to disperse crowds, claiming the lives of hundreds.Last Mod: 31 Ekim 2013, 17:38