by Peter Grady –
Following a statement by President Barack Obama declaring that Egypt in not an ally, the White House explained that his remark was not prepared by staffers and the government still considers the government to be a partner with the United States.
In an interview with the Spanish language network Telemundo, the president raised eyebrows when he said Egypt is neither an ally or an enemy.
“I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy,” the president said.
On Thursday, The Cable reported that the White House was backtracking on the comments. The article said administration sources claimed the president’s comment was not pre-arranged or prepared by staffers because the question was not anticipated.
“I think folks are reading way too much into this,” White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said. “‘Ally’ is a legal term of art. We don’t have a mutual defense treaty with Egypt like we do with our NATO allies. But as the president has said, Egypt is longstanding and close partner of the United States, and we have built on that foundation by supporting Egypt’s transition to democracy and working with the new government.”
During the interview Obama explained that while some in America are reacting angrily to the attacks on our embassy it is important to realize local residents should not be held to the same standards as those in America.
He said the new government was the first democracy in the country in over 7,000 years and “they don’t have traditions of civil society.”
The attacks on the embassy included destroying the American flag and replacing it with a Muslim flag that declared, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet,” Similar attacks have taken place in other Muslim countries including Libya where the U.S. ambassador was killed. Muslims have also attacked
The remarks by the president expressed concern in international circles since the previous government under Egyptian President Mubarak was long considered an ally. In 1989, the country was designated as a Major Non-NATO Ally of the United States.
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