By Nicola Nasser*
The internal crisis in Egypt has indulged the country in
its most critical foreign relations test since these relations were shaped by
the U.S. sponsored Camp David accords and the peace treaty with Israel in 1979.
An indicator is the warnings against travel to Egypt from east
and west, which are exacerbating the rapidly shrinking tourism industry. Stopping
production in Egypt
by industrial giants like General Motors, Toyota Motor Corp. and
Suzuki Motor Corp. is a second indicator. Summons of foreign envoys to Egypt by their governments, which
invoked similar Egyptian reciprocal summons, is a third indicator. A fourth was cancelling the U.S.
military's participation in next month's Operation Bright Star in Egypt
and delaying the delivery of four fighter jets to the country. Suspension of
the sale of military equipment used for " internal repression" by the EU was a
fifth. Threats to
cut or suspend aid to Egypt
by the U.S.
and EU was another more important indicator.
In the immediate proximity, and three days after the
ouster of the elected president Mohammed Morsi on July 3, the Peace and Security Council of the fifty -- four member
African Union decided "to suspend the participation of Egypt in AU activities until the
restoration of constitutional order."
On August 20,
South Africa, a leading member of the AU as well as the BRICS five -- member
association, issued a statement to remind the "interim government" in Cairo
that its " principled position is based on the Constitutive Act of the African
Union, where any unconstitutional change of government -- whatever the premise --
is specifically rejected" immediately.
So far, the AU reaction is ironically the
only concrete international diplomatic measure taken in defense of the western
widely trumpeted rule of law and democracy. The African "sphere" is
traditionally only second to the Arab one as a cornerstone of Egypt's foreign
announced the suspension of aid to Egypt. The UK Foreign Secretary
William Hague on Monday announced the suspension of all British joint programs
with the Egyptian intelligence services and the export of "some" items to Egypt. Germany's
development minister, Dirk Niebel, said Monday that Egypt will get "no further
pledges this year" of aid from Berlin and added he has decided "that we won't
negotiate this year" on any debt relief for the country. A day earlier, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that her country would
halt previously approved arms shipments to Egypt, but as part of a coordinated
Most likely the U.S. allies' final
reaction will wait until the U.S. administration ends its open --ended stance,
but while U.S. allies follow in its footsteps, the U.S. rival world powers
grudgingly dealt with the emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) as the
leaders of the "Arab Spring" changes in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya as a
fait accompli; the removal of the Egyptian MB from power is a welcome
Ahead of their meeting in Brussels last Wednesday,
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that "no options would be off the
table" at the meeting of his counterparts of the EU 28-member countries.
Presidents of the European council and European commission, Herman Van Rompuy
and Jose Manuel Barroso, warned jointly on Sunday that further escalation could
have "unpredictable consequences." The European Union threatened that it will
"urgently review" its aid to Egypt,
but, like the U.S.
threat, it's just a warning that has yet to materialize.
The EU and its member states last year
pledged a combined 5 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in loans and aid for Egypt.
Russia , China on
and China are waiting on the
sidelines to invest in what could evolve into a historical turning point in Egypt's
The Kremlin maintained what a writer in
"Asia Times" described as a "stony silence," until August 19 when the foreign
ministry in a statement urged "dialogue" among "all" political players "without
any foreign interference," but the Egyptian embassy in Moscow
said that Cairo counts on Russia's assistance in "this trying
time, as it used to in the past."
In 2010 the volume of trade and
economic cooperation between the two countries amounted to $2.1 billion. The number of Russian tourists visiting Egypt in 2010 alone was estimated to be
2,855,723, making it the number one country in providing Egypt with
remained relatively quiet. On August 15, the foreign ministry in a statement
said the country was following "closely the situation in Egypt," urged "maximum restraint"
and "dialogue" to "restore order and social stability."
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