April 1, 2023

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Egypt and America – flaming issues on the table of strategic dialogue

In separate conversations with “Sky News Arabia”, they said that the resumption of the strategic dialogue between Egypt and the United States for the first time since 2015, restores the momentum to the relations between the two countries, and also represents an important step towards deepening relations and facing challenges.

They were not excluded. At the same time, the strategic dialogue reached an “institutional framework” for the dialogue, defining a meeting period, and forming political, economic, and military committees that emanate from it to follow up on various issues between the two sides.

On Monday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and his American counterpart, Anthony Blinken, discussed ways to strengthen relations, and many issues of concern to the two parties, from Sudan to Libya to the Renaissance Dam.

Shoukry and Blinken inaugurated the two-day strategic dialogue activities to discuss advancing bilateral cooperation files in line with the depth and strength of the strategic relations between the two countries.

Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Ahmed Hafez, said that Minister Shoukry praised the development of bilateral relations at all levels, stressing the importance of continuing to intensify political consultation and coordination between the two countries regarding bilateral relations files and issues of concern.

He expressed his hope that the strategic dialogue would produce results that reflect the distinction and privacy of relations between Cairo and Washington.

An institutional framework for dialogue

Ambassador Hajar Islambouli, former assistant secretary of state for American affairs, expected in an interview with “Sky News Arabia” that the two sides would agree to set a specific institutional framework for periodic meetings with specific dates.

She said that the round of dialogue, which came at the invitation of Washington, “will likely lead to the establishment of an institutional framework for the dialogue in terms of its periodicity, timing and participants.”

She pointed out the possibility of emerging from this institutional framework, specific qualitative committees for the various aspects of relations, whether political, military or economic, with the continuation of the existing bilateral contacts permanently.

Islambouli, who is also a member of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs, noted that the relations between the two sides are strategic and extend over 40 years. To achieve stability in the region and this is the main pillar of relations.

inflamed regional environment

Regarding this, Islambouli indicated that the timing of the dialogue is very important as a result of the situation in the region, as “the regional environment is very inflamed and needs to calm the existing tension, and work to achieve the necessary stability in the region.”

The former Egyptian diplomat believes that the strategic dialogue between the two countries will be exposed to various issues in the region, such as the future of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the issues of Libya, Sudan and the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, all of which are politically inflamed issues in the region.

On the level of bilateral relations, the Egyptian-American relations have different aspects and fields, including the security, military, economic and cultural aspects between the two countries.

attraction point

On the points of attraction between the two sides, she said: “The American Democratic Party considers human rights an essential part of its foreign policy towards the whole world and not only towards Egypt.”

She added: “With regard to Egypt, the issue of human rights includes all aspects of human beings, while Cairo recently launched the national strategy for human rights, in addition to the President of the Republic’s announcement to abolish the state of emergency in the country.

She stressed that the relations between the two countries are not limited to one side only, but are linked to strong and complex strategic relations at the security, military, economic and cultural levels.

Restore the momentum of relationships

In turn, Bashir Abdel-Fattah, a political expert at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said in an exclusive interview with “Sky News Arabia” that the dialogue between Egypt and the United States will help restore momentum to relations between Cairo and Washington at all levels.

Abdel-Fattah said that the United States realized the extent of Egypt’s regional weight, and its ability to play a prominent role in achieving stability in the Middle East, due to its role as an important mediator in all regional interactions, and among the most stable countries in a turbulent region.

He believed that the round of dialogue would reduce the estrangement between Cairo and Washington under the administration of Joe Biden, as it would help take these relations to broader horizons during the coming period.

The dialogue is of great political and strategic importance in a cloudy regional environment, according to Abdel-Fattah, who said: “There are real crises in Sudan, Yemen, Libya and the eastern Mediterranean, in addition to the Iranian nuclear issue.”

He added, “Putting all these files on the dialogue table with Egypt reflects America’s keenness to rapprochement with Cairo and benefit from its capabilities and capabilities, in an effort to overcome the obstacles that impede stability in the region.”

Forms of understanding for disagreements

“Washington is trying to arrange its relations with the active forces in the region, including Egypt, which can influence many issues in the region,” this was confirmed by Dalal Mahmoud, professor of political science at Cairo University.

She said in an exclusive interview with “Sky News Arabia” that the resumption of dialogue between the two countries reflects Washington’s return to the issues of the Middle East, which prompted it to revitalize a network of relations and alliances that guarantee it to preserve its interests, or at least that there is no single country that dominates relations in the region. .

According to Mahmoud, the US-Egyptian relations are strategic and important to both sides, adding: “Washington is still the great power that has many cards of influence in the region, and Cairo is still an important regional player for Washington, especially in terms of security, starting with combating cross-border terrorism to controlling security issues.” energy to the security of shipping lanes, among others.

Mahmoud, who is also director of the Security and Defense Program at the Egyptian Center for Thought and Strategic Studies in Cairo, said: “The dialogue will most likely result in finding a formula of understanding on contentious issues between the two countries, in preparation for coordinating some common positions on regional issues.”

She added, “The dialogue witnesses coordination in the American-Egyptian positions on issues in which Cairo’s role is pivotal, such as the Palestinian and Libyan issues, or the issue of the Renaissance Dam, which could affect its potential developments in the Horn of Africa.”

Mahmoud also said that Washington wants to explore Egyptian trends in future relations with Iraq in light of the new joint Levant project between Egypt, Jordan and Iraq.