Egypt defence ministry delegation arrives in US

Ahram Online and Reuters, Sunday 29 Jan 2012

Delegation arrives Sunday to discuss further military aid and cooperation between Egypt and US following recent military violations against protester and NGO rights

An Egyptian delegation from the Ministry of Defence arrived in the US Sunday morning to discuss military aid and the case of six US NGO staffers currently banned from leaving Egypt.

“The delegation will visit several US bases to discuss joint training,” General Mohamed El-Keshky told MENA news. "The Egyptian delegation will also hold meetings with a number of members of the Senate's Armed Services Committee."

The Egyptian delegation also hopes to meet with officials at the State Department and the Pentagon. It will also hold talks with Congress, where US lawmakers will soon consider a new request for aid to Egypt's military, which now runs about $1.3 billion per year, one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Egyptian visit comes after Egypt's military-led authorities pounced on non-governmental organisations, including several funded by the US government, and slapped travel bans on six American staffers, including a son of US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former congressman.

Political analysts say the crackdown, along with questions over Egypt's emergency law, the continued prosecution of civilians using military law and military and security forces' treatment of women protesters, has clouded the outlook for Egypt's fledgling democracy following last year's ouster of president Hosni Mubarak. 

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