United States Department of State Deputy Spokesman Marie Harf Thursday criticised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement endorsing Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi for presidency.
“We don’t endorse a candidate and I do not think it is, quite frankly, up to the United States or to Mr. Putin to decide who should govern Egypt. It’s up to the Egyptian people to decide,” Harf said during a daily press briefing. She added that the United States has urged the government to continue to advance an inclusive transition that includes all groups and all parties.
The Russian President said Thursday that he knew that Al-Sisi had decided to run for Egypt’s presidency, describing Al-Sisi’s decision as “very responsible.” Putin added, “I wish you luck both from myself personally and from the Russian people.”
When asked about the Egyptian-Russian joint communiqué condemning “foreign interference in domestic affairs of any country,” which could be read as a criticism of United Sates foreign policy, the Deputy Spokesman said she found it ironic that a foreign country issued a statement saying that other foreign countries should not get involved.
Harf said the United States “will work with all parties and all groups across the political spectrum to help advance a process, right an inclusive democratic transition, but not to impose outcomes and not to endorse candidates.” The United States has a long-standing relationship with Egypt based on shared interests, she said, as does Russia.
When asked about the implications of of Al-Sisi’s visit to Russia, which is his first since the military announced support for a presidential bid, Hard said, “We will wait to see what comes of it,” adding that “Egypt is free to pursue relationships with other countries; it does not impact our shared interests.”
Harf said the United States does not think Al-Sisi’s visit to Russia would impact shared interests with Egypt.
In late January, Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was promoted to Field Marshal and was endorsed by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces to run for the presidency. Since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi, relations between the United States and the post-3 July regime in Egypt have been tense, especially since the temporary suspension of US aid, which led to the re-establishment of Egyptian-Russian ties.