Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy defined his country's relations with the United States as "shaken". In an interview with London-based al-Hayat newspaper released Tuesday, the minister claimed the Egyptian public opinion towards the US
was more negative than ever.
He made the remarks ahead of the UN
General Assembly in which he will take part, together with the many of the world's leaders.
Last week, American officials said they were considering halting aid to Egypt
following the revolution in the country. Fahmy said in response that "the Egyptian government's decisions will not be affected by the US decision in regards to the aid to Egypt."
The minister was asked whether Egypt-US ties are deteriorating, or whether there are tensions. According to him, "I would rather use the word 'shaken' and not 'tense', since there were two revolts in Egypt within two and a half years, and there was a lack of clarity regarding the American role and stance towards former President Hosni Mubarak, and then towards the Muslim Brotherhood during the second revolt."
When Fahmy was asked about the ties with Hamas
, he answered that there is fault in the movement's relations with the previous administration and in its links, together with other Islamist Palestinian movements, to terrorist activities in Sinai.
Gas supply in Egypt (Photo: EPA) Weapons seized by Egyptian army in Sinai According to him, "we will not agree to have Palestinian citizens choked or tortured in Gaza.
We adhere to enforcing sovereignty and law in all of Sinai and especially at the border crossings, so that it would be clear who is operating and who is not. There are undoubted tensions now."
The foreign minister added that "if Hamas proves its intentions with actions and not with words, and unfortunately there are negative indications in that regard, it will find an Egyptian side that protects the Palestinians."
However he mentioned: "If we will feel that there are sources within Hamas or other sources who are trying to hurt Egypt's national security, the response will be fierce. We will not allow any harm to the national security or Egyptian sovereignty."
Regarding to the opening and closing of the Rafah Crossing, Fahmy said that the crossing will remain closed these days, but there is no official decision to close it indefinitely.
When asked whether the closure of the Rafah Crossing is one of the options that Egypt is taking as part of the "fierce response" he said: "The issue is of military and security options, and not ones that would bring suffering to the Palestinian people."