Diplomatic Turbulence after Attack on U.S. Embassy in Egypt
Middle East analyst Marc Lynch said that President Mohamed Morsi has been “notably invisible” following the breach of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. ”Morsi and the Brotherhood do not seem to understand, or perhaps they simply do not care, how important their public stance is today in defining their image,” Lynch said. Morsi did ultimately condemn the attacks and pledge Egypt’s commitment to securing all diplomatic posts in the country, but in a phone call with President Barack Obama, Morsi also asked the U.S. “to put an end to such [provocative and hateful] behavior,” referring to the anti-Islam film that allegedly sparked the riots.
Obama discussed ongoing American “efforts to strengthen bilateral economic and security cooperation” with Egypt on the call with Morsi, but in an interview with Telemundo later, Obama said that “he does not believe Egypt is an ally of the United States, [but] he also doesn’t consider the country an enemy.” U.S. officials rushed to clarify the President’s position, emphasizing that “the administration is not signaling a change in [the] status” of diplomatic relations with Egypt, which remains a “longstanding and close partner of the United States.”
In Brussels today, Morsi secured almost $1 billion in aid from E.U. countries, conditional on Egypt securing the IMF loan that is still being debated by Egyptian policymakers. Meanwhile in Cairo, representatives from Egypt, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia discussed the situation in Syria. Reports indicated that Egypt is trying to break Iran’s support of Assad’s regime, but no agreements have yet been reached.