Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi told The New York Times that his government will be more independent of the United States.
He also lashed out at the previous administrations and bashed Israel.
Morsi also held his first talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad earlier this month.
Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi (L) speaks with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, August 30, 2012. (Reuters)
On the eve of his first visit to the United States as Egypt’s president, Islamist Mohammed Morsi said he will demonstrate more independence from the US in decision-making than his predecessor Hosni Mubarak and told Washington not to expect Egypt to live by its rules.
Morsi sent that message in an interview with the New York Times after a wave of violence erupted across the Muslim world over an amateur film produced in the US that was deemed offensive to Islam and its prophet Muhammed. The film raised news tensions between Washington and Egypt.
Morsi criticized US dealings with the Arab world, saying it is not possible to judge Egyptian behavior and decision-making by American cultural standards. He said Washington earned ill will in the region in the past by backing dictators and taking “a very clear” biased approach against the Palestinians and for Israel.
“Successive American administrations essentially purchased with American taxpayer money the dislike, if not the hatred, of the peoples of the region,” he told the paper in the interview published late Saturday, drawing a clear distinction between the American government and the American people. Those administrations “have taken a very clear biased approach against something that (has) very strong emotional ties to the people of the region that is the issue of Palestine.”
He stressed that unlike his predecessor, Mubarak, he will behave “according to the Egyptian people’s choice and will, nothing else.”
Morsi, who was sworn in on June 30 after the first democratic elections in Egypt’s modern history, has been cautious not to sharply depart from Mubarak’s foreign policy path, particularly the longstanding alliance with the United States.
Egypt’s general prosecutor wants the death penalty for Americans who blaspheme Mohammad.