The US has “a special responsibility” to the Palestinians rooted in Washington’s
signing of the 1978 peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, Egyptian President
Mohamed Morsy told The New York Times on Saturday.
“As long as peace and
justice are not fulfilled for the Palestinians,” Morsy told the Times, “then the
[Camp David] treaty remains unfulfilled.”
Washington must live up to its
Camp David commitment to Palestinian autonomy, he said on the eve of his first
visit to the United States as Egypt’s president.
The Camp David Accords,
which established peace between Israel and Egypt, also foresaw a withdrawal of
Israeli troops from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and eventual autonomy for
The Egyptian president also framed the United States’
support for Israel over the Palestinians, along with its support of Arab
dictators, as “essentially purchas[ing] with American taxpayer money the
dislike, if not the hatred, of the peoples of the region.”
addressing other issues, Washington should help establish a Palestinian state in
order to overcome anger directed towards it in the Arab world, the Egyptian
Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama discussed
the new ground on which the US-Egypt relationship stands following last year’s
revolution that ousted the country’s USaligned longtime dictator Hosni
“I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t
consider them an enemy.
They’re a new government that is trying to find
its way,” the US president said in a television interview.
explained, will need time to develop many basic institutions and the US
understands there will be “some rocky times.”
Responding to Obama’s
remarks and a question posed by the Times as to whether he considers the US an
ally, Morsy retorted, “That depends on your definition of ally,” adding that he
envisions the two states as “real friends.”
In a Facebook post on Sunday,
Morsy said Obama thanked him for securing the US Embassy during protests against
a film made in California that mocked the prophet Muhammad and sparked worldwide
demonstrations and violence.
According to Morsy’s official Facebook page,
Obama’s letter repeated Washington’s condemnation of the film and said he looked
forward to working with Morsy to build on the “strategic
“In his letter, President Obama thanked the Egyptian
president for Egyptian efforts to secure the mission of the United States in
Cairo,” the site wrote.
In another interview Saturday with Egyptian state
television, Morsy discussed Syria, asserting that having a strong relationship
with Iran is important for Egypt at this time to be able to work out a way to
end the bloodshed in Syria.
Morsy described Iran as “a main player in the
region that could have an active and supportive role in solving the Syrian
Morsy, in a move to revive Egypt’s role in the region, asked
last month for Iran to join a quartet committee he called for that includes
Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt to try to find a solution to the violence in
Iran is the only state in the quartet that is an ally to Syrian
President Bashar Assad and has accused Saudi Arabia and Turkey of helping the
rebels who are fighting to topple him.
Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt
have all demanded that Assad step down. Iran was attacked at the UN Security
Council last week for its continuous backing of the Syrian regime.
don’t see the presence of Iran in this quartet as a problem, but is a part of
solving the [Syrian] problem,” Morsy said, explaining that Iran’s close
proximity to Syria and its strong ties with it makes it “vital” in resolving the
Morsy’s comments came after Saudi Arabia stayed away from the
quartet’s last meeting, which Cairo hosted on September 17. Saudi Arabia’s
decision was seen by diplomats and Western officials as a reaction to the
presence of Shi’ite Iran, the major rival of Sunni Saudi Arabia in the Middle
Saudi Arabia has not officially commented on why it did not attend
that meeting and Egyptian officials gave conflicting explanations for its
Morsy said he could meet with top officials of the three states
of the Quartet during the United Nations General Assembly meeting he will attend
in New York this week.
“And we do not have a significant problem with
Iran, it [the relationship between Egypt and Iran] is normal like with the rest
of the world’s states,” said Morsy who last month became the first Egyptian
president to visit the Islamic Republic in decades.
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to this report.