Egypt’s Sisi invites US Congress delegation to observe parliamentary polls

Ahram Online , Sunday 20 Sep 2015

Egypt's president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met with the Congress delegation in Cairo on Saturday

US Secretary of State John Kerry is thanked by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi after speaking at the Egypt Economic Development Conference in March (Photo: Reuters)

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met with a US Congress delegation on Saturday in Cairo, and invited the group to monitor Egypt's parliamentary elections, scheduled to start in October.

Sisi extended the invitation to the congressmen so they could “make sure of its [the election process] fairness and transparency”, according to a presidential statement.

Egypt has not replaced the parliament dissolved in June 2012 after a court ruled that the law regulating its election was unconstitutional. It had only been formed in late 2011.

Sisi holds legislative power until an elected parliament convenes. The electoral process is scheduled to conclude by mid-December.

"The president and the Congress delegation also discussed strengthening the strategic relationship between the countries," the presidential statement added.

The delegation emphasised Egypt’s role in overcoming the region’s problems. The congressmen also said the relationship between the United States and Egypt strengthens the hold of peace and stability in the Middle East.

They also affirmed their support of Egypt as a strategic partner, especially in combating terrorism, the statement added.

The talks also included the ongoing refugee and migrant crisis, regional developments and Egypt’s preparations for the upcoming parliamentary polls.

In August, the US secretary of state John Kerry attended an Egypt-US strategic dialogue in Cairo which, according to Kerry, was organised “to rebuild elements of [their] relationship.”

Relations between the US and Egypt have suffered since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

In October 2013, the US announced the suspension of its military aid to Egypt in protest at the country's crackdown on Morsi supporters.

Egypt, heavily reliant on the US for its military equipment, training and support, has renewed its relationship with Russia, which has signed a multi-billion-dollar arms deal to provide Egypt with weapons.

The US decided to lift the partial suspension on military aid earlier this year after a 21-month suspension.

However, the US said that resuming its aid to Egypt is not an endorsement of the country’s approach to domestic dissent.

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