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Egypt will ‘find other sources’ for aid if needs not met

October 17th, 2013
02:44 PM ET

Christiane Amanpour's full interview with Foreign Minister Fahmy is online here.

By Mick Krever, CNN

In the wake of the U.S. suspending significant military support to Egypt, that country will “find other sources” if its national security needs are not met, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

“If your friends in the region, when they’re facing terrorism in particular, cannot depend on a continuous supply of equipment that deals with terrorism, then you are obviously going to raise questions in the mind of those friends about your dependability,” he told Amanpour, referring to the United States. “And that will affect your interests as well as those of your friends, like Egypt.”

Fahmy called the suspension of some aid a “freeze, or delay” – not a “cut-off.”

The United States announced last week that it would withdraw a significant portion of its military aid to Egypt.

The decision came after months of debate since President Morsy was deposed in early July. The American government did not call that a “coup”; if it had done so, it would then have been legally obligated to withdraw aid.

But the harsh government crackdown on pro-Morsy protestors in the past – including hundreds killed in August and dozens just last week – was seen as a step too far by the interim government.

Fahmy pleaded with the international community to be patient with Egypt.

“I refer you back to the U.S. system,” Fahmy said. “It took you a very long number of years before you gave African Americans equal rights in America. So let’s just respect how difficult it has been.”

Former President Morsy’s trial is set to begin next month; he has been charged with committing and inciting violence.

“For lack of a better term, we’re between a rock and a hard place,” Fahmy said of the trial. “If there is no trial, then people will argue that you cannot hold somebody under arrest without putting him before the courts, and I agree with that.”

Fahmy admitted that the trial will be a “difficult phase.”

“Once you put him to trial obviously it will raise tensions,” he told Amanpour. “But we have to respect the law, we have to allow for due diligence, we have to provide people due process and the right to defend themselves, and that’s what’s going to happen.”

Fahmy portrayed the military ousting of President Morsy, a democratically elected leader, as a necessary step.

“While we last year elected a president through a democratic process, he did not then govern democratically and wanted to pursue non-inclusive politics,” he said.

Now, Fahmy told Amanpour, Egypt is facing “the result of having to depose two presidents in two-and-a-half years.”

“The challenge, frankly, is not about pleasing the United States or pleasing the West,” he said. “It’s about finding a democratic system that includes all Egyptians.”

“It’s not going to be easy; there will be ups and downs,” he told Amanpour. “What we’re trying to do, almost, is a miracle in comparison to how long and how many stumbles other countries went through before they developed their democracy.”

Since President Morsy was deposed, the leader of Egypt’s armed forces, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has emerged as a stronger and stronger leader.

“General al-Sisi gained tremendous support publically because of what happened last July when the former president was deposed,” Fahmy told Amanpour. “And that’s a reflection of the anger the public had about having their rights taken away from them.”

“But the more powerful person,” he said, “and the most powerful lobby if you want, in Egypt today is the Egyptian people – it’s not a person per se.”

But will General al-Sisi run for president when elections are held, as the government has predicted, next summer?

“When we get to that phase, we’ll see what the constitution says; we haven’t even finished that yet. What the election law says; we haven’t done that either,” Fahmy told Amanpour. “So let’s just get to that point and then we’ll see what the population will say after looking at the constitution and the law.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Egypt • Latest Episode
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Omar

    If US expects any outcome like getting MB back to the process on their terms that would be the top of all US administration miscalculations. It is not up to Sessi or interim government to do this but it may happen if the remote possibility of MB get similar vote a year back which will not happen because MB will not run for election next year partly because they know how big were their screw ups during the Morsi year and because they want now to play the victim role hoping to get back to power same way as they did before based on the overused Sharia story.

    US Administration must realize that aid to any future Egypt government or military will not give them any of what MB promised to give during the Morsi year of slide.

    Finally, I simply do not believe what US is saying that they cut aid because people were killed. it simply is not true.

    October 17, 2013 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  2. ashok

    Strange analogy, to refer to the evolution of civil rights in the US. Next, the gentleman will be talking of the Crusades. The army is putting the clock back, which is a pity, considering how well it conducted itself when Hosni Mubarak had to be eased out.

    October 17, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  3. amurti

    Ashok, you obviously do not live here. The Egyptian people quickly realized that they were going down the path of Sharia Law, the MB were quickly taking over the country and silenced anyone who were getting in their way. As with the downfall of Mubarak the same happened to Morsi when the Egyptian people called for their downfall. Morsi promised the world when he became president a PRESIDENT FOR ALL THE EGYPTIAN PEOPLE he stated , well that did not happen. The Egyptian people have awoken and they want change and are quite surprised the American Government are not on their side. The people asked the military to step in to save the country – unfortunately, they did not have anyone else to turn to. Thank goodness El Sisi was not in Morsi's pocket because if he was, Egypt was, for sure, going down the paty of Sharia Law. The U.S. knew what was happening and now I wonder why they are upset Morsi is gone. The Egyptian people want Religion out of politics and I hope they succeed.

    October 17, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      Couldn't agree more. Morsi promised the world to Egypt and he failed to deliver. Some may say that a year is not long enough to govern the country but his intentions were clear for all to see. Sharia law was being imposed on the nation, women were being further silenced and Christians being persecuted/ignored. Sisi has the right intentions for the country and he could see from the inside what type of governement they were.

      October 18, 2013 at 3:53 am | Reply
  4. aurelius

    The Egyptian prime minister was most interview in the latest interview. he deserves the full support of the US and western power. Egypt is at a corner stone and has the best chance to become a secular state under the current leadership. That would be the beginning of the new era for the country. The prime minister is totally correct when he reminded us that the west took decades to succeed in developing its own democracy, including the US, and expecting Egyptians to achieve the same results in a few months or years without bumps and setbacks is totally unrealistic.

    October 17, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  5. Egyptian

    Well, all these propaganda by Egyptian government against US department is a bubble in the air, Egypt government can't live without US support & agreement for the following
    1- US is a major ally to Israel and (Egyptian American) unity will guarantee a piece to Egypt from the east
    2- US is major ally to gulf region and you to keep tie with any (US or Gulf countries), must go with both
    3- US is the real great power in Universe, and no other country can play this role on time being but US.

    Egyptian government is ruled by military took power by coup so to get support among Egyptian must create fallacious enemy and fight it through the media

    October 17, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Reply
    • Sarah

      There is no way you are Egyptian. You have no Egyptian pride nor intelligence in your comments. The USA may be a world power but it does not determine Egypt's future. Unfortunately to all Americans, only Egyptians will be governing Egypt's future. Try to digest that because it seems like you are completely ignorant.

      There was no coup, this was the world's greatest revolution against your beloved but equally idiotic MB (Muslim Brotherhood).

      Don't ever forget that the USA is not stupid like you are eluding. The USA is smart and will only give aid to Egypt if it has something to benefit and right now Egypt is a free country and the USA has nothing to benefit because it will not be able to control Egypt like it did when the US puppets (Morsi and Hosni Mubarak) were in power.

      Also, you are extremely wrong in that Egypt will only be better off by getting its security needs met by America. In fact, the USA ensures that Egypt always gets worse grade weapons, army equipment, etc... than its neighbor Israel so that way Egypt always stays weak. However, Russia and other countries would be more than happy to supply Egypt with much stronger and better weapons than the USA is currently supplying. The USA has more to lose than Egypt by stopping military aid. This was the stupidest decision made by the white house and they will be paying the price.

      Good luck trying to understand what I wrote. Good luck to you.

      October 18, 2013 at 5:19 am | Reply
      • Mark

        Israel has their eyes on SInai and Obama thought Morsi will handed it over while forgetting Egyptian's will. Current US officials forgot what happened when Foster Dulles under Eisenhower refused to deliver weapons to Egypt in 1955. Sinai will remain Egyptian territory.

        October 18, 2013 at 10:24 am |
  6. Robert Hussein

    Why when ever time , there is a tiny hope for Egypt, for the Arabs, for the Middle Eastern, for the so called Muslims , for the world, for me, an idiocy takes over.

    October 17, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Reply
  7. Perspective

    The actions of the MB resulted in such severe economic and social conditions that 20+ million people took to the streets in July 2013. Impressive and could not be ignored by the military. There is a litany of actions by the MB during their tenure that reflect questionable judgement, here is but one example of many. May 2013, Morsi appointed Adel el-Khayat as governor of LUXOR, whose from the Gamaa Islamiya party, this is the same party that was responsible for the killing of 58 German tourists in LUXOR.

    The response by the foreign ministry is intelligent and thoughtful which reflects the current makeup of the Egyptian cabinet, in contrast to the MB led cabinet who, as an example appointed a 35 year old Minister of Investment, whose previous experience was marketing and sales for Vodafone (2004 to 2012). This technocrat cabinet is precisely what Egypt needs to navigate through these tricky waters.

    The calls to reinstate the MB simply do not work. The toothpaste is out of the tube and you won't be able to put the paste back in! Egyptians do not accept the MB as their president. If USA really cares, and thinking for the greater good, perhaps consider positive action that will stabilize the situation and listen to what the vast majority (90%) of Egyptians desire.

    October 18, 2013 at 1:26 am | Reply
    • Opinion

      It's very interesting, so if people are not happy with their elected president so they ousted him by coup.
      In Democratic countries, if you are not happy with president you will vote against him in next election, instead of these bloodshed and turmoil in Egypt streets, you could wait 3 years for coming election

      October 18, 2013 at 4:10 am | Reply
      • Mark

        Like Hamas who has been in power since 2006 or Hezballa who is in power since 1981. Why go far... US Congress has approval rate less than 10 % and 90% were re-elected.

        October 18, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  8. Farouk Alwyni

    This guy is a stooge of military ... He will tell anything lying if necessary to be in line with his military masters. The military has been in power for over fifty years, and they have done nothing for Egypt but backwardness, underdevelopment, and dependence on foreign aid. The military controls around 25%-40% of the economy, and they were not willing to lose those privileges under democratic environment, so they made coup. Talking about milions of people going down to street to remove Morsi is a complete non-sense, Tahrir square could not even accommodate 400 thousand people, let alone millions. This coup government is weak. They are killing people, shutting down the media, arresting the journalists. They are afraid of the truth that will manifest. Their stay in power will not last for more than 6 months, the economy will punish them, and punish them severely. Only after that then those gangsters in uniform with al-Sisi as its godfather would be tried for a crime against humanity and destruction of the Egypt's economy.

    October 18, 2013 at 5:50 am | Reply
    • Freddie Nerk

      Nonsense. Morsi is a fanatic dictator who was leading Egypt down the path of a jihadist led Government. He stabbed Syria in the back by supporting terrorists. The Egyptian Army did the right thing and the people support them. Mossi will be found guilty and should be executed. Obama is making a big blunder.

      October 18, 2013 at 6:21 am | Reply
  9. Ahmed M Ibrahim

    All said and done, Egypt is in search of a new democratic era which would put an end to deficiencies that were abundant during the Pre 1952 parliamentary democracy and during the one year rule of the MB combine. After the finalization of forthcoming parliamentary and Presidential elections Egypt would be a model democracy. Nobody need worry about that as the people have realized the follies committed after the 25th Jan.2011 upheaval. Nonetheless Egypt would aspire to gain friendship of nations which are dependable in their commitment rather than bank upon those who are not trustworthy.

    October 18, 2013 at 6:36 am | Reply
  10. billy

    good, let some other country fund this Islamic hell hole.

    October 18, 2013 at 7:46 am | Reply
  11. Mark

    I think US policymakers are suffering from sever terminal case of squint, even if the next president is republican, he wouldn’t be able to fix Obama’s error

    October 18, 2013 at 10:09 am | Reply
  12. Abul K Azad

    Whatever they , we or he say in support of ousting Morsy of Egypt all wrong . Truth is, a democratically elected govt. to stay in power until the last day of their term regardless.

    October 18, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • Mark

      The Brotherhood uses democracy, but once in power it will replace democracy with fundamentalist shariah law because it is the “true democracy.” “The final, absolute message from heaven contains all the values which the secular world claims to have invented....Islam and its values antedated the West by founding true democracy.”
      —Former Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammed Mahdi Akef, Nov. 2007

      October 18, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  13. Toppolina

    Come on Christiane... quit backing and defending the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood... Just yesterday they killed four innocent Coptic Egyptians (one 12 year old child) while they were leaving a church wedding.. and 17 were wounded... The little girl alone received 13 bullets... And the killing of the Copts has been going on for years now and it was done by the MBs and the Salafis (FYI I am Muslim) but I am also Egyptian and so are the Copts... You always defend the MBs and say they are "peaceful" but you turn your back on their burning, looting, killings, robbings, rapings, kidnappings, sabotaging, etc... their crime list is so long and so disgusting... Show the truth and be honest for a change you and your lying CNN station... One last note, yes we love our Armed Forces and we back them with our lives... like it or not...

    October 21, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  14. pbs kumad

    It was believed with half an eye that the revolution that toppled Mubarak was linked to the Israeli raid on Turkish sponsored flottila aid to Palestine . Mu arak's decision to open land route to Palestine to defuse Meditteranean crisis placed him unpopular among the fundamentalist s unified by spreading hatred. against Israel, The US and in faraway India. ,Narendra Modi.

    October 23, 2013 at 10:10 am | Reply
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