Egypt: US insists Cairo cut all ties with Pyongyang
Washington, which already froze military assistance package to Egypt over its intriguing relations with Pyongyang, has reiterated its demand to Cairo to curtail all ties with its historical North Korean ally.
London-based The New Arab revealed that diplomatic sources familiar with ties between Egypt and the US pointed out that Washington requested that Cairo closes military attaches’ offices and halts all related activities in both Egypt and North Korea.
The sources who spoke under condition of anonymity stressed that Washington is mulling new sanctions against Cairo aside from the freeze of military and economic aid.
Washington in August froze or delayed around $300 million in military aid citing deficit in Cairo’s human rights record. The Trump administration set a number of conditions including suspension of military cooperation between the North African country and the Asian rogue state.
US-Egyptian relations were exacerbated further last week after US daily Washington Post revealed that Cairo was the undisclosed recipient of a shipment of $23 million of weapons from North Korea.
The load made of more than 30,000 grenades was concealed in a vessel named Jie Shun flying Cambodian colors, which set off from North Korea.
US intelligence tracked the vessel which was expected in Egypt’s Suez Canal. UN investigators believed the size of shipment was meant for military purposes.
Following the press report, Cairo denied any involvement in the secret deal.
Egypt has been an historical ally of North Korea. Diplomatic and military ties date back to 1970s.
During a visit to Seoul early last month, Egyptian defense minister, Sedki Sobhi told South Korean officials that Cairo has already severed military ties with Pyongyang and will side with Seoul to increase international pressure on North Korea.