Egyptian-US relationship is strategic and extended: MEI

The relationship between Egypt and the United States is strategic and extended for decades, especially the most recent  rapprochement between the Egyptian administration and President Donald Trump, said Paul Salem, senior vice president for policy research and programmes at the Middle East Institute.

In an interview with the press delegation accompanying the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt and the Egypt-US Business Council’s door-knock campaign to Washington DC, Salem said the Middle East region, including Egypt, had bet on Trump.

“Egypt has a strong role in the region and there is an understanding between Presidents Al-Sisi and Trump that would support stability and change of thought and support modernisation.

The US administration also appreciates Egypt’s development efforts, which intersects with the desire of Al-Sisi to keep Egypt standing unlike other countries. Al-Sisi wants clear relations with all parties and just solutions to the [region’s] conflicts.

Salem further noted that the Middle East Institute intends to establish a special research programme for Egypt, similar to its programmes on Turkey, Iran, and other countries, adding that the knowledge of American society about Egypt is limited, and depends on what is said by the major American newspapers, although these newspapers focus on certain points. “What happens in Egypt is much bigger than the coverage,” he concluded.

On the other hand, Gerald M Feierstein, former US ambassador to Yemen and a Middle East expert at the institute, said there are divergent views on Egypt in the United States, but it is clear that the US president is looking positively at what Egypt is doing internally or regionally. “Trump is constantly looking for things that would help Egypt achieve security, stability, and development,” he added.

He noted that Trump might work in the coming period to find a solution to the dispute between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt on the one hand and Qatar on the other, but in a different way from that of outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He explained that his evaluation is based on Qatar’s importance in energy but bears in mind that the pillars of the administration are all aware that the US operations in Afghanistan or Iraq and Syria start with Qatar.