To clarify the president’s remarks that Egypt is neither America’s ally or enemy, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters:
“‘Ally’ is a legal term of art. We do not have a mutual defense treaty with Egypt, like we do, for example, with our NATO allies. But as the president has said, Egypt is a long-standing and close partner of the United States, and we have built on that foundation in supporting Egypt’s transition to democracy and working with the new government.”
Carney didn’t mention that according to a 1989 treaty, Egypt is considered a non-NATO ally, along with Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Korea.
Obama made the comments about Egypt during a Telemundo interview on Wednesday after an emotional day in which the administration and the nation faced the death of four Americans, including U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
The president told Telemundo: