The Washington Post

White House clarifies after Obama says Egypt not ‘ally’

In an interview with the Spanish-language network Telemundo Wednesday night, President Obama said Egypt's relationship with the U.S. is complicated: ""I don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy." 

In fact, Egypt was declared a “Major Non-NATO ally" in 1989. So White House staff is doing a little clarifying today. 

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told Foreign Policy magazine Thursday that Obama was not signaling any kind of policy change. 

"‘Ally' is a legal term of art," he said. "We don't have a mutual defense treaty with Egypt like we do with our NATO allies. But as the president has said, Egypt is longstanding and close partner of the United States, and we have built on that foundation by supporting Egypt's transition to democracy and working with the new government."

 White House Press Secretary Jay Carney gave reporters a similar comment. "The president, in diplomatic and legal terms, was speaking correctly," he said. "We do not have an alliance treaty with Egypt. Ally is a legal term of art. As I said, we do not have a mutual defense treaty with Egypt, like we do, for example, with our NATO allies."

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that Egypt is still considered a major non-NATO ally. 

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
What can babies teach students?
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
A veteran finds healing on a dog sled
Play Videos
A fighter pilot helmet with 360 degrees of sky
Is fencing the answer to brain health?
Scenes from Brazil's Carajás Railway
Play Videos
How a hacker group came to Washington
The woman behind the Nats’ presidents ‘Star Wars’ makeover
How hackers can control your car from miles away
Play Videos
Philadelphia's real signature sandwich
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Europe's migrant crisis, explained
Next Story
Philip Rucker · September 13, 2012