Obama thanks Egypt's president over embassy protection

CAIRO Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:00am EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally at the Henry Maier Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin September 22, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally at the Henry Maier Festival in Milwaukee, Wisconsin September 22, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Related Topics

CAIRO (Reuters) - President Barack Obama has thanked the Egyptian president for securing the U.S. Embassy during protests against a film made in the United States that mocked Prophet Mohammad and sparked worldwide demonstrations and violence.

Obama's rival in the U.S. presidential race, Mitt Romney, called for a tougher line with Egypt after protesters scaled the compound wall and tore down the U.S. flag on September 11.

Police clashed with demonstrators for four days after that incident and barriers were erected to stop them getting near the compound.

In a letter, Obama repeated Washington's condemnation of the film and said he looked forward to working with President Mohamed Mursi to build on the "strategic partnership", Mursi's official Facebook page said on Sunday.

"In his letter, President Obama thanked the Egyptian president for Egyptian efforts to secure the mission of the United States in Cairo," according to the site.

Egypt was a close ally of the United States under Hosni Mubarak, whose 30-year rule was ended by a popular uprising last year. The U.S. government, a major aid donor to Egypt and long wary of Islamists, only opened formal contacts last year with the Muslim Brotherhood, the group that propelled Mursi to power.

Obama told a Spanish-language network this month that the United States did not consider Egypt's Islamist government either an ally or an enemy.

When asked whether he thought of the United States as an ally in an interview with the New York Times published on Sunday, Mursi said: "That depends on your definition of ally."

The newspaper also said Mursi indicated Egypt would not be hostile to the West but would not be as compliant as Mubarak.

"Successive American administrations essentially purchased with American taxpayer money the dislike, if not the hatred, of the peoples of the region," he said, referring - according to the newspaper - to backing dictatorial governments over popular opposition and supporting Israel over the Palestinians.

Speaking before travelling to New York for the U.N. General Assembly, Mursi said Washington needed to change its approach to the Arab world, show greater respect for its values and help build a Palestinian state to reduce pent up anger in the region, the newspaper said.

"As long as peace and justice are not fulfilled for the Palestinians, then the treaty remains unfulfilled," he said, referring to Egypt's U.S-brokered peace treaty with Israel that was signed in 1979.

Mursi, who travels to New York on Monday, is not scheduled to meet Obama during his U.S. trip.

A spokesman for Mursi could not immediately be reached for comment, nor could a U.S. embassy official.

(Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Louise Ireland)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (22)
KDupre wrote:
This president is so clueless with foreign policy he’s putting our entire country in peril. Islamists hate us more than ever since he’s started on his apology campaign.

Sep 23, 2012 10:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
dggr wrote:
It is not the attitude of America towards the radicals in the Middle East which must change, but the attitude of the radicals towards America and all cultures that vary from their own, which must change. Until then we must maintain our ability to defend ourself, not because we are war-like, but because the radicals are war-like.

Sep 23, 2012 10:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
usa.wi.vet.4q wrote:
Thank you Egypt for your citizen that made the anti-Muslim movie that you blamed the US for. Thank you Mr President for continuing to give our money to this back stabbing hateful regime. Let’s hope the Muslim world can pull its head out of its rear end. We are very tired of your BS. You are your own problem.

Sep 23, 2012 10:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.