FM to meet US defense officials, Congressmen Monday
Egyptian Foreign minister Nabil Fahmy - YOUM7 (Archive)
By AYA IBRAHIM

CAIRO: Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy will start a set of important meetings on Monday for three days with a number of senior U.S. administration officials and Congressmen, Youm7 reported Sunday.

Fahmy is scheduled to meet with his U.S. counterpart John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs  Ed Royce, Head of House Committee on Appropriations Kay Granger, Head of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. He will also hold number of meetings and interviews with leaders of the Arab Community in U.S.

Moreover, Fahmy will head to New York to meet with Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon following his talks with senior US administration officials, Youm7 reported.

A source at Egypt’s Embassy to United States stated that “Fahmy will head for New York at the end of his talks in Washington starting Monday, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Sunday.

During a Sunday phone interview with ON TV channel, spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry Badr Abdel Atty said that Fahmy’s current visit to the US aims to boosting American-Egyptian relations as well as  giving the U.S. a “true image” of Egypt.

Abdel Atty added “Egypt is moving toward elections and democracy, despite many attempts to prevent this happening.”

Fahmy’s talks in U.S. will focus on political and economic ties, the US aid program for Egypt as well as the recent developments of the Syrian crisis and the Palestinian issue, Abdel Atty said in Friday statement.

U.S.-Egyptian relations have strained following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, with the U.S. initially condemning the ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected president.

Although the Obama administration has not formally described what took place as a  military coup, senior U.S. Senator John McCain did refer to it as such in August 2013, in a move separate from the administration’s policy.

In the meantime, several countries have accused the U.S. of pressuring the military council, after it decided to withhold its military aid to Egypt in October 2013, due to the deliberations that took place in response to the ouster of Morsi.

Annual military aid to Egypt has been a staple of U.S. foreign policy for over 30 years. The Egyptian government received U.S. $1.5 billion of combined military and economic assistance. However, the ouster of Mohamed Morsi, and the following forceful dispersal of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda Squares led to tensions in the relations between the two countries.

The full aid package to Egypt was conditionally unfrozen in January; in order for the aid to be delivered, the secretary of state must certify the Egyptian government is supporting a transition to democratic government, including holding free and fair elections, and implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association, religion and due process of law.

On April 24, the Pentagon issued a statement saying that “the U.S. will be delivering ten Apache helicopters to Egypt,” and said the decision had already been passed along to Cairo by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

“We believe these new helicopters will help the Egyptian government counter extremists who threaten US, Egyptian, and Israeli security,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in Thursday statement.

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