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News Analysis: Egypt's new president seeks "balanced" diplomatic strategy

English.news.cn   2012-09-06 05:31:44            

by Shaimaa Behery

CAIRO, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's recent overseas trips are considered a reflection of his strategy aiming at achieving balanced diplomatic ties and reinforcing relations with some international forces that were once neglected by his ousted predecessor.

Morsi, who assumed office on June 30, in late August paid a visit to China, the first country out of Africa and Middle East he went to, after his maiden diplomatic trips to Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia.

In China, Morsi was accompanied by seven ministers and 80 Egyptian businessmen, who were the closest witnesses of his political and economic ambitions in ties with Beijing. Morsi told Chinese leaders that "Egypt will maintain high-level exchanges with China and promote links between governments and political parties," and that Egypt hopes to expand its economic cooperation with China in such areas as manufacturing, agriculture, finance and communications.

"Morsi's visit to China shows his attempt to distance himself from the former regime policies which bridled the foreign relations with the United States and its allies," Akram Houssam, political analyst with the National Center for Middle East Studies, told Xinhua.

The former rulers of Egypt had "monocular orientation" in their diplomatic strategy and overlooked the importance of some rising states. But Morsi has been "aware" of the new developments in the international arena, Houssam said.

"The president believes the economy is the fuel oil that moves the international political truck forward, for that reason he headed to China which is the second powerful economy in the world, " Saed Lawendy, political expert with al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said to Xinhua.

According to his spokesman, Morsi is set to visit the United States on Sept. 24 in a trip limited to New York. Then he will visit Brazil.

"Morsi visited China before the U.S. as he needs a solid relations" with another "bolster" of an audible word besides Washington, Lawendy said.

On Morsi's opting Brazil just after the United States, Houssam said the choice reflected how much the new Egyptian leader is aware of the international changes, as well as his intention to distinguish himself from the ex-regime, which almost had Latin America out of its sight for long.

"Morsi knows Brazil has a strong economy and played an important role in the Iranian file with Turkey. He also knows that Brazil is on the way to have its prominent existence in the regional and international tables," Houssam said.

Also at the end of August, Morsi attended the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran, as a good-will manner for redeveloping the Egyptian-Iranian relations that was severed for three decades.

"Even if both states have different courses towards various international cases, Morsi's visit is still an attempt to build peaceful relations based on the common interests with Iran," Houssam said.

But Houssam meanwhile pointed out that "Iran's stance towards the Gulf countries may stand as an obstacle towards normal relations, especially that Morsi said in more than one situation that the Gulf's security was part of the Egyptian security. He added that the Iranian efforts for the Shiite extension in Egypt also stands as "critical" issue between both states.

As Houssam admitted that Morsi still faces a "hard mission" in diplomacy, Fakhry al-Tahtawi, professor of political studies in Cairo University, also warned that any premature judgement on Morsi's diplomatic endeavors could be irrational.

"We can't judge the strategy of Morsi now, while the state institutions haven't stabilized yet, and the presidential team was announced just one day before Morsi travelled to China," Tahtawi said.

Tahtawi saw any evaluation for the state's strategy now was " nonsense," as there was no specific plan or strategy put forward by the Egyptian institutions or the presidential team. He believed Morsi's visits were based on personal endeavor, rather than a strategic plan.

"To judge the strategy, we should wait and see the plans from the economic, military, diplomatic institutions presented in the president acts," he said.

Related:

Iranian, Egyptian presidents talk about NAM objectives, regional developments

TEHRAN, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi held talks here on Thursday about the objectives of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and regional developments, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

Quoting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Mehr said the two presidents held talks in a "friendly atmosphere" and reviewed the objectives of the NAM and their concerns.   Full story

NAM Summit signals thaw in Iran-Egypt relations

 

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