WASHINGTON — The US Navy’s top officer visited Egypt this weekend, meeting with the new head of the Egyptian Navy amidst a relaxation of US restrictions on operations and arms sales to the strategic Middle East nation.
“This visit was important to me to re-establish the relationship with the head of the Egyptian Navy,” Adm. Jon Greenert, chief of naval operations (CNO), said Sunday in a phone interview from Alexandria. “They’ve been doing well out here under the circumstances given the dynamics of the country.”
Asked to assess US-Egyptian military-to-military relations, Greenert declared, “It is strong, at the fleet level and below.”
Greenert met with Rear Adm. Osama Mounir Rabie, appointed in April as Egypt’s chief of Navy amidst a shuffle of top-level military leadership positions.
“He’s new to the job, a little younger than his predecessors,” Greenert observed.
While the visit marks the first time Greenert has visited Egypt as CNO, he noted that Vice Adm. John Miller, head of the Bahrain-based US Naval Forces in Central Command, has been to Egypt on a number of occasions.
“I wanted to get an agenda [from the Egyptians] that is clear and coherent,” Greenert said. The visit, “says our mil-to-mil relations are ready to move ahead at a deliberate pace, at a pace that makes sense to them.
“We’ve had a pretty long tradition of good working relations with the Egyptian Navy,” Greenert noted. “This is more of a restoration tour, restoring relations to what they were through history.”