US weighs in on Sisi’s visit to Russia

US State Department Deputy spokesperson Marie Harf said on Tuesday that “Egypt is free to have relationships with whoever it wants.”

In press remarks commenting on President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s visit to Russia, Harf said, “We have a relationship with Egypt that’s based on unique capabilities we bring to bear, certainly in the security side, but also on the economic reform side as well. So we believe we have a strong and strategic relationship.”

Harf also spoke about the Human Rights Watch report on the dispersal of Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda sit-ins last August saying that the US is

“[We] are currently reviewing it," Harf said. "Our initial reaction is that the report’s findings are very disturbing… It’s troubling that one year later, no security forces have been held accountable in events that resulted in the deaths of approximately a thousand Egyptians."

We have made decisions about our policy towards Egypt based on what’s in our national security interests, as they have made some limited progress. Some – I would stress some and limited," Harf added. "But we have made decisions based on what’s in our security interests and how we can help, but we’ve also, as we’ve said, held some things back even today as well.”

Some observers believe Egypt is tilting towards strengthening relations with Russia, the United State’s arch political foe, in response to the latter’s hesitant declaration of support for the authorities that ousted former president Mohamed Morsy in 2013.

Russia has been a vocal supporter of Sisi’s ouster of Morsy.

Egypt has reiterated it seeks balanced international relations, saying that its relations with Russia are not at the expense of ties with the US.

Edited translation from MENA


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