In an interview with Charlie Rose on his nightly PBS program on Monday, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi gave a less-than-ringing endorsement of Egypt’s relationship with the United States.
Rose asked the Egyptian president where things stood between the two nations, and pushed him to say whether or not they are allies. Morsi explained that the counties had a friendly relationship but were not allies, echoing a point President Barack Obama had made earlier.
ROSE: What’s the difference between warm and hot?
MORSI (translated): It’s the same difference between a friendship and being an enemy.
ROSE: So the United States government and the Egyptian government are friends, not enemies?
MORSI (translated): We are not enemies, of course.
ROSE: But you’re our friends.
MORSI (translated): For sure. We are friends.
MORSI (translated): The U.S. president said otherwise.
ROSE: I know he did. But I’m asking the Egyptian president. Do you consider the United States an ally?
MORSI (translated): This is dependent on the definition of an ally. We have a real partnership in interest and we want to achieve the interest of the world who participate in many issues — diplomatic, political, economical exchange of expertise and several areas the understanding of an ally as a part of a military alliance — this is not existing right now. But if you mean by ally, partner and special relationship and cooperation, we are that ally.
ROSE: Because Egypt has a unique role —
MORSI (translated): I did not say that we are allies.
ROSE: You said friends.
MORSI (translated): I said friends and there are a special diplomatic relationship and communication and political and commercial and scientific areas and an exchange of interests. We are — there is strategic partnership between the two countries.
As to whether or not there was in any truth to the notion that American aid was threatened to be cut off in the wake of the unrest at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Morsi offered a denial.
ROSE: Was American aid an issue in those conversations?
MORSI (translated): No, that was not such at all. This thing was not mentioned.
ROSE: So there was no cut off of American aid?
MORSI (translated): There was no threat of any kind.