Washington DC- Egyptian ambassador to Washington Yasser Reda expects the resumption of the strategic dialogue between the United States and Egypt, headed by both countries’ foreign ministers, before the end of the coming fall in Washington. The dialogue will include a number of concerned executive authorities in both countries.
Reda explained that in his meeting with the press delegation accompanying the American door-knocking campaign, they agreed to hold dialogue sessions once every two years between Washington and Cairo alternately. The Egyptian government was keen on launching this dialogue in 2015, despite the differences that have marred its relations with the previous US administration, he added.
This dialogue should be resumed as soon as possible to take advantage of the momentum of the visit of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to the United States and depend on the positive results of this visit, Reda said.
He added that the president’s visit to the United States was very important, and that “we should take advantage of it by clarifying the vision of the Egyptian administration before the new administration in Washington starts formulating its own policies, especially after the Egyptian relations with the previous administration were strained due to many disputes.”
Al-Sisi visited Washington in April 70 days after US president Trump assumed office. The United States is currently at the beginning of completing its management and defining its strategy and approach for the coming period.
Reda added that the Egyptian president was keen on addressing the new administration of the United States during his visit. The US is a state of institutions, so it was necessary to address all concerned parties, such as the administration, Congress, businesspeople, research centres, and the Egyptian community, he stated.
The Egyptian president has succeeded in delivering the Egyptian message and stressed on building new Egyptian-American strategic relations. Both countries are in a new stage: after two revolutions, Egypt has changed, and the US is at the beginning of a new era under president Trump. This requires building a new strategy suitable for the current times.
Terrorism is not only about fighting ISIS
Terrorism is one of the most important issues on the Egyptian-American negotiation table. According to Reda, the Egyptian administration was keen on presenting its own vision of terrorism. Terrorism is not just about fighting ISIS, because “we need to fix the roots of the problem. We should have a political, military, ideological, social, and economic mechanism to unify the opposition and message in order to fight one enemy and eliminate terrorism,” he added.
Reda added that “we must work transparently and coherently, so the one who claims to fight terrorism in one hand should not feed it with the other, and people have the right to live in security and peace.”
In this context, Reda mentioned that the Palestinian issue is an important issue to Egypt, and Mahmoud Abbas’ meeting with Trump is one of the results of Al-Sisi’s meeting with Trump.
He said that the Egyptian administration stressed the importance of reaching a two-state solution.
Further important issues to the Egyptian government are those of Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen, followed by the stability of the region and the elimination of terrorism, both of which will not be attained without finding a solution to the conflicts in the region. Reda revealed that the visit of president Mahmoud Abbas to Washington and discussing the two-state solution—which Al-Sisi has already discussed with Trump—is not a coincidence.
The US president called for renewing religious discourse, and it was one of the bravest steps taken by a president globally. The leadership of Egypt to this process is a source of strength, and it is also a key entrance to fighting terrorism. Terrorism is originally an idea, and it is important to face and replace extremist ideologies with more moderate ones, according to Reda.
Investment and trade exchange is more important than economic aid
The US administration decided over the past few days to reduce economic aid to Egypt by an amount of roughly $38mThis resolution is now being discussed in Congress.
“The reduction has no significant meaning, and it does not reflect any political position against Egypt, but the continued aid without reduction has a symbolic significance, and we do not want to remain dependant on aid,” Reda added.
“Reducing the value does not bother me, especially since the US administration is moving towards other areas, such as investment, and listing Egypt to take advantage of loan guarantees,” Reda said. “We should care about the American administration’s stance towards Egypt and that increasing the investments will significantly benefit Egypt more than economic aid will.”
The US administration included Egypt among the countries that can obtain loan guarantees, which allows it to obtain liquidity and assistance through means other than classic aid.
There is a strong relation between politics and business. American investors invest in tourism and trade with the countries that have strong relations with the US administration, therefore “we should improve political relations between the two administrations,” Reda added.