On the eve of his first flight to the United States, where he will attend the United Nations General Assembly, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi called on the U.S. to make good on its commitment to Palestinian self-rule.
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In an interview with the New York Times, published Saturday night, Morsi equated Egypt's commitment to peace with Israel to the U.S. commitment to the Palestinians.
“As long as peace and justice are not fulfilled for the Palestinians, then the treaty remains unfulfilled,” he said.
Morsi told the New York Times that it was up to America to revitalize its relations with the Arab world, relations that according to him have been strained by the fact that “successive American administrations essentially purchased with American taxpayer money the dislike, if not the hatred, of the peoples of the region” by supporting Israel over the Palestinians and backing oppressive regimes.
Morsi praised U.S. President Barack Obama for "decisively and quickly” supporting the Arab Spring that brought him to power, adding that in doing so the U.S. was supporting “the right of the people of the region to enjoy the same freedoms that Americans have.”
Morsi rejected criticism that he didn't condemn the protesters who recently climbed over the U.S. Embassy walls and burned an American flag in rage over the YouTube video that has been inflaming the Arab world.
“We took our time,” he explained to the New York Times in order to avoid a violent response, but then "decisively” dealt with what the small and violent group of demonstrators. Morsi stressed that the embassy staff was never in danger.
“We can never condone this kind of violence, but we need to deal with the situation wisely,” he said.