Egypt’s current rapprochement with Russia is not an alternative to the Egyptian-American relationship, presidential spokesman Ihab Badawi said Wednesday according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
Badawi’s comments came during a press conference in the Presidential Palace, where the spokesman called the relationship with Russia “historic”, referring to the historic alliance between Egypt and the Soviet Union.
The spokesman said that following 30 June Egypt was “reevaluating our relationships with all countries on the basis of benefitting [Egypt].”
Badawi also commented on US Secretary State John Kerry’s recent visit to Egypt. “Our relationship with the USA is important to both sides,” he said. “”We care about this relationship, and the United States should [as well], but we care more for the popular will and our national dignity.” Badawi added that he expected a positive transformation in a bilateral relationship and a rapprochement between the two sides regarding internal Egyptian affairs.
Badawi said he expects a similar transformation regarding the European Union (EU) and African positions on Egyptian internal affairs with the fulfillment of the post-30 June roadmap, pointing to what he called a transformation in the EU position in Egypt after European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton’s 3 October meeting with President Adly Mansour.
The spokesman also discussed strained relations with Turkey, saying that “[Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s narrow partisan views are pushing our relations with Turkey to a path we wanted to avoid”.
Turkey had reinstated their ambassador in Egypt on 4 September, having recalled him on 15 August for consultations following the dispersal of sit-ins by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi at Rabaa Al Adaweya and Al-Nahda squares. Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said that Egypt is “yet to take a decision” on whether or not to send its ambassador back to Turkey, adding that he “will remain in Egypt until a decision is made.”
Switching gears to internal affairs, the spokesman expressed the presidency’s “keenness on issuing the Protest Law soon” adding that it will not be issued until “it is ratified by the cabinet and state council.”
However, Badawi denied any links between the timing of the law’s issuance and the end of the state of emergency on 14 November. “The law is not a replacement for the state of emergency,” he stressed.
The spokesman went on to say the president still intends to hold parliamentary elections over the scheduled timeframe, despite the end of the state of emergency before the ratification of the constitution. Badawi’s comments came in response to questions over the state’s ability to hold elections amid the current security situation.
The spokesman also touched on the suspension of Bassem Youssef’s popular satirical show “Al-Bernameg” from the CBC satellite channel, which he said the presidency “had nothing to do with”, describing it as an “internal problem within the channel”.