CAIRO: Relations between the United States and Egypt are in deep-seated turmoil which could hurt the entire Middle East, the Egyptian foreign minister said in remarks published yesterday.
Nabil Fahmy told the state-run Al Ahram newspaper the extension of the period of instability in ties would “reflect negatively on the entire region, including American interests.”
“We are now in a delicate state reflecting the turmoil in the relationship and anyone who says otherwise is not speaking honestly,” he said.
Egypt criticised a US decision last week to curtail military and economic aid to Cairo after a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, although Washington stressed it was not severing ties with its long-standing ally.
US officials said the move reflected Washington’s unhappiness with Egypt’s path since the army overthrew freely-elected President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood on July 3.
The army-backed interim government insisted Egypt would not bow to US pressure, saying it found the decision strange at a time when the country was “facing a war against terrorism”.
Meanwhile, Dutch charter airline Transavia has cancelled flights to the popular Egyptian resort of Sharm Al Sheikh in the restive Sinai peninsula because of a security threat, it said yesterday.
Transavia declined to say what the specific threat was, but state broadcaster NOS said it was of a possible rocket attack from militants in the Sinai.
“We have postponed our flights to Sharm Al Sheikh for the coming two weeks because of a risk-based assessment done by the KLM group,” to which Transavia belongs, spokeswoman Marine Sluiter said. “We will look at the situation every day until then,” she said, declining to discuss what was in the risk assessment.
NOS said that the Dutch National Counterterrorism and Security Coordinator (NCTV) had told the airline that militants in the Sinai, a hotbed of Islamist activity, were planning on using a rocket to attack a passing plane.
National news agency ANP reported that the NCTV had received intelligence of a “possible attack from the ground in the Sinai area”. Militant attacks on Egyptian security forces after the military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July have been concentrated in the northern Sinai, while Sharm Al Sheikh is close to the peninsula’s southern point.
Dozens of soldiers and policemen have been killed in daily attacks, as the army has poured troops and armour into the lawless peninsula that straddles Africa and Asia to crush the insurgency.
Israel’s national carrier El Al last month changed routes it flies to the Red Sea coastal resort of Eilat last month over security concerns.Agencies