Kamal Amer, chairman of the Egyptian parliament’s Defence and National Security Committee, told reporters on Monday that Egyptian-American relations have largely improved in recent months, adding that “we are ready to hold meetings with all foreign officials, including Israelis, as long as these meetings serve our interests.”
“We know that these relations have suffered a setback since 30 June [when former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was ousted from office in an uprising in 2013],” said Amer.
“We hope that what happened was just a summer cloud and that relations between us” are normalised.
Amer’s press statement came after he met with the US embassy’s advisor for political affairs on Monday to discuss cooperation between the two countries in security and military areas.
The meeting came upon the request of the advisor, according to Amer.
Amer said that parliament’s Defence and National Security Committee is ready to hold meetings with foreign officials from all countries “as long as they do not go against parliament’s rules, have the speaker’s prior approval, and help serve the national security of Egypt.”
Amer, a former chairman of Egypt’s military intelligence, said he hopes his meeting with the US embassy advisor will reinforce strategic cooperation between Egypt and America.
Amer said that he told the US official that there is high potential for cooperation between Egypt and the US in exchanging intelligence, delegations and documents in the areas of security and combating terrorism.
“I also told him that the parliaments in the two countries can cooperate in the area of drafting anti-terror laws,” said Amer.
Many Egyptian MPs said they strongly support president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s new policy aimed at diversifying Egypt’s sources of armament.
Also, many MPs, a number of whom were members of former president Hosni Mubarak’s ruling party, are hostile to US President Barack Obama’s administration.
One of these MPs told Ahram Online that the last few years clearly showed that it is highly risky to depend on one source for armaments.
“As the Obama administration proved to be highly hostile to Egypt in the last two years, it was necessary for President El-Sisi to turn to other sources such as Russia, China and France,” said the MP, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Egypt’s parliament approved last February a defence loan agreement with France, helping Egypt buy French military equipment at a record value of 5.9 billion euros.
Egyptian MPs also believe that the Obama administration was highly supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
“Not only did this administration gave support for this group to take office in Egypt after the removal of former president Hosni Mubarak from office, but it still refuses to designate this group as a terrorist organisation,” said one MP.
He said that he and many Egyptian MPs have high hopes that the US Congress will pass a law declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.
“We saw how many Republican presidential candidates and congressmen accused the Obama administration in recent months of helping this group take power in Egypt, and we hope that this will be reflected in a law imposing a ban on its activities in the US,” said the independent MP.
Many US congressional delegations have visited Egypt in recent weeks, the most important of which was one led by speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan in April.
Republican senator and former presidential candidate Lindsey Graham said in a visit to Egypt last April that he wants a “Marshall Plan for the Middle East” that would drastically increase US military aid to Egypt and Arab Gulf states.
Graham is the chairman of the US Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs. He is also a member of the Committee on Armed Services.
On Sunday, a US embassy economic delegation met with the head of the Egyptian parliament’s Economic Affairs Committee, Ali El-Moselhi. The delegation was led by the US embassy’s minister plenipotentiary for economic affairs.
A statement by the committee said the meeting involved a review of the economic laws expected to be discussed by Egypt’s parliament in the coming period.
“The US embassy minister plenipotentiary also reviewed the prospects of cooperation between Egypt on one side and US-based international finance institutions such as the World Bank in the area of economic development,” said the statement.
source: Ahram Online