CAIRO: Egypt will expand cooperation with Russia in the wake of a diplomatic spat with long-time ally the United States following President Mohamed Morsi’s overthrow, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
The foreign minister was speaking ahead of a visit on Wednesday by Russia’s defense and foreign ministers to discuss arms sales and political relations.
Fahmy said strained relations with Washington, which suspended some of its massive military aid to Cairo after the army toppled Morsi, had improved with Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit last Sunday.
But Egypt is taking a more “independent” tack and broadening its choices, he said.
“Independence is having choices. So the objective of this foreign policy is to provide Egypt with choices, more choices. So I’m not going to substitute. I’m going to add,” he said. “I see this as a beginning of a new phase.”
Kerry’s visit “left better sentiments here in Egypt,” Fahmy said of the visit just a day before Morsi went on trial for inciting the killings of protesters.
“It does not mean everything has been resolved. It does not mean there won’t be hiccups in the relationship in the future,” Fahmy said, speaking in his office on the banks of the Nile River.
Egypt had close ties with Russia until several years before president Anwar Sadat made peace with Israel in 1979, bringing in roughly $1.3 billion in yearly US military aid over the subsequent decades.