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Egypt warns US to act over Israel or risk Arab hatred

Monday, 24 September 2012 - 4:44pm IST | Agency: Daily Telegraph
The Egyptian president has warned the United States that its Middle East policies must change after the Arab Spring, and that the onus is on Washington to heal its fraught relationship with the region.

The Egyptian president has warned the United States that its Middle East policies must change after the Arab Spring, and that the onus is on Washington to heal its fraught relationship with the region.

In interviews on the eve of his departure for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Mohammed Morsi gave an uncompromising critique of US policies in the Middle East, underscoring his growing reputation as figurehead of a new, democratic, defiant, and often Islamist Arab world.

He warned the US that its promotion of Israeli interests ahead of Palestinian independence has fostered deep anti-American sentiment among Arab nations.

He also said that it was important to have a "strong relationship" with Iran, with which Egypt itself has had no diplomatic relations for more than 30 years.

Speaking a little over a week after four Americans were killed and others injured in mob attacks on US embassies in Libya, Yemen and Egypt, Morsi told The New York Times: "Successive American administrations essentially purchased with American taxpayer money the dislike, if not the hatred, of the peoples of the region."

He said Washington had failed in its "special responsibility" to Palestinians as a signatory of the 1978 Camp David Accords, which bound the US to oversee the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the West Bank and Gaza and aid Palestinian independence.

Morsi said that the US must honour its treaty with the Palestinian Authority if it expected Cairo to uphold its peace treaty with Israel.

His position was warmly received in the West Bank where Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian negotiator, said it brought "comfort" to the Palestinians.

"[Morsi] doesn't want war with Israel, nor does he want to worsen his relationship with the US, but he wants both sides to understand that he has his own independent demands of the relationship and they cannot take him for granted," Shaath said.

In Jerusalem, Israeli officials declined to respond to his comments, other than to express hope that Morsi shared Israel's commitment to "the continuation of peace".

 


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