Meeting with Assistant Foreign Minister for American Affairs
On March 4, 2021, the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA) hosted Ambassador/ Hisham Seif, Assistant Foreign Minister for American Affairs, to speak about the Egypt-U.S. relations and their developments, in a closed session, attended by Ambassador Dr. Mounir Zahran, ECFA Chairman, and Ambassador Dr. Ezzat Saad, ECFA Director. In this context, Ambassador Seif indicated that former US President Barack Obama aimed in general to preserve the status quo in the region during the Arab uprisings, and not to take decisive positions towards the countries in which these uprisings took place, in a desire to get acquainted with what the events would lead to in the end, and take appropriate stances by that time. He did not even call what happened on June 30, 2013 a military coup, despite being a democrat. Rather, he issued directives afterwards to cooperate with Egypt, and to supply it, for example, with Apache helicopters that were used to strike ISIS locations in Libya following the massacre committed by the organization against a number of Egyptians who were present there at the time.
As for the new U.S. Administration, i.e. Biden Administration, it adopts the positions of its democrat doctrine, such as directives to respect the law, human rights and others. Perhaps this became obvious during the call that the U.S. Secretary of State conducted with his Egyptian counterpart at the beginning of this year, as he emphasized the priority of the human rights issue and the need for the Egyptian leadership to address it. However, it must be noted that this administration is determined to withdraw militarily from the Middle East region with its troubles, due to the insufficient resources needed to cover its military operations outside U.S. territories. Second: its relentless desire to oppose the growing Chinese rise in various ways.
With regard to the relationship between Egypt and the United States, Ambassador Seif indicated that the regional and international situations are still too ambiguous to set a political and security arrangement in the region by the new administration, as well as to define action programs through which relations between the two countries could be enhanced. However, Egypt has to formulate and present specific elements for cooperation with the U.S. side at the present time, including, for example, finding a mechanism for the departure of all foreign elements from Libya, including those whom the United States considers its opponents; as well as putting pressure on Iran – without entering into a confrontation with it – by liberating Iraq from its clutches, thanks to the current tripartite relations between Iraq, Egypt and Jordan, in addition to the possibility of enhancing the security of the Red Sea and the Gulf according to specific mechanisms, in exchange for gaining – for example – the U.S. support in the Renaissance Dam file which is an existential issue for Egypt…etc.