By Mick Krever
(CNN) - “Egypt is coming back,” says Egypt’s new prime minister.
Tourism is picking up, foreign investors are lining up, and security is returning, Hesham Kandil told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
And yes – lest secularists in the West worry – Kandil said that President Morsy’s administration is a moderate one.
As a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsy has taken pains to allay Western fears that he would implement a theocratic government.
Kandil even cites the fact that he – as a U.S.-educated and little-known water minister – was chosen to be prime minister as “excellent evidence” of Morsy’s moderation.
Moderation in Egypt, which receives over a billion dollars in U.S. military aid, may indeed be critical to Morsy’s political survival.
“We want to be a key player in this region,” Kandil said, “and I think it is for the best interests of everybody that we have a very strong relationship with United States of America.”
The desire to be a remain a regional player was spotlighted last month when Morsy denounced Syria’s Bashar al-Assad – while sitting next to Assad’s key ally, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“We want to be friends with all countries in the region,” Kandil said of Morsy’s visit to Tehran. “But we want also to have a balanced relationship where we can call a spade a spade.”
And what of the Camp David Accords, the 30-year-old treaty with Israel that is considered critical to the region’s stability?
“I guess this is something that we have to say as many times as we can,” Kandil said. “But of course we respect all of our international treaties, whether with Israel or with any other country.”
Morsy’s surprise decision last month to dismiss the main threat to his authority – Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, the head of Egypt’s military – moved the country forward “five or six years,” Kandil said.
“I was a witness when Field Marshall [Tantawi] was asked to go,” Kandil said. “He just did. He said ‘Yes, sir,’ and he went home. And [he] showed very clearly to everybody, Egyptians and non-Egytians, that this is a professional army.”