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Egypt-U.S. relations in turmoil, says foreign minister

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Relations between the United States and Egypt are in deep-seated turmoil which could harm the entire Middle East, the Egyptian foreign minister said in remarks published on Wednesday.

In an interview conducted by the state-owned daily newspaper al-Ahram, Nabil Fahmy said the extension of the period of instability in ties would “reflect negatively on the entire region, including American interests.”

“At the same time, I am not very worried about this unrest in relations,” he said, “The Egyptian people will not hesitate to bear the consequences of such a situation in order to preserve their freedom of choice after two revolutions.”

“In addition, this unrest will equally serve Egypt and the U.S. because both will reconsider and better estimate their relationship in the future,” the minister added.

Egypt criticized a U.S. 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.

U.S. officials said the move reflected Washington’s unhappiness with Egypt’s path since the army overthrew freely-elected President Mohammad Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood on July 3.

Despite the tensions, Fahmy said the two countries will retain relations because Egypt is “the heart and mind of the Arab world,” and because Egypt is aware of the U.S. importance as a key world power.

(with Reuters)