Egyptian MPs caution US congressmen against interfering in Egypt's internal affairs

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 26 Jan 2021

Parliament Deputy Speaker Abul-Enein said 'we should send a message to the US congress that Egypt respects human rights'

The Egyptian Parliament
The Egyptian Parliament. Al-Ahram

The deputy speaker of the House of Representatives and several MPs criticized on Tuesday what they called repeated attempts by some US congressmen to interfere in Egypt's internal affairs after Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry delivered a speech to parliament on the goals of Egyptian diplomacy.

The issue of Egyptian-American relations was a central point in a statement delivered by Egypt's foreign minister before the House of Represntatives today.

Shoukry insisted that Egyptian-American relations stand on solid foundations and that they are not governed by the existence of a certain political party in power,  referring to the coming of a new US administration led by the Democratic Party-affiliated President Joe Biden.

Shoukry said Egypt is keen on reinforcing relations and partnership with the United States in economic, commercial, and military fields, and that the two countries have a mutual interest in fighting terrorism.

Shoukry also said that commercial exchange between Egypt and the US has increased by 76 percent between 2016 and 2019.

“While America ranks third in terms of foreign investors in Egypt, US investments in Egypt have reached $22 billion and Egypt comes on top of African countries receiving American investments,” said Shoukry.

MPs, however, saw that Shoukry was "diplomatic" in his speech on Egyptian-American relations.

“There is a bloc inside the US congress by the name of “Human Rights in Egypt” and this represents some kind of intervention into our own affairs, and that some should not use the issue of human rights as a pretext to interfere in Egyptian internal conditions,” said Abul-Enein.

He also added that “all should not ignore the efforts being exerted by the Egyptian state in the area of respect of public freedoms and civil rights.”

Abu El-Enein said “we should send a message to the US congress that Egypt respects human rights and that the state is doing its best to improve the living, economic, and social conditions of citizens.”

“The issue of human rights is not just a matter of the right of expression, but it is primarily how to meet the people's needs in terms of food security and housing,” said Abu El-Enein.

Joining forces, Ashraf Rashad, leader of the majority party of Mostaqbal Watan (The Nation's Future), said some foreign parliaments, particularly the US Congress, like to use the issue of human rights as a pretext to intervene in the internal affairs of Egypt.

“It is no longer acceptable that some use political terms like “detention” and “forced disappearance” as a way to intervene in our own internal affairs,” said Rashad.

He also added that the “US Congress should take better care of America's internal affairs, not to mention that we all followed what happened in America in the last period and so US Congressmen have a job to reform the conditions of their country, and as far as I know their MPs should focus on internal issues rather than discuss the affairs of other countries.”

According to Rashad, “the term of political detainees is rejected because the Egyptian judicial system has deep roots in history, and it has complete powers to follow correct legal procedures and achieve justice and that all defendants have the right to defend themselves in all stages of investigation.”

Rashad also said, “while Egypt is currently living in a climate of achievements, political freedom, democracy, and representation of all forces, it is no longer acceptable that some, particularly US Congressmen, use some terms as an excuse to interfere into our own affairs.”

MP Mahmoud Badr asked Foreign Minister Sameh Soukri “what will be the position of the Egyptian state if the new US administration led by President Joe Biden decided to repeat former US president Barack Obama's policy of supporting political Islam movements and intervening in Egypt's internal affairs?”

“I think the message we should send Americans right now is that we do not like to intervene into others' affairs, and we do not like others to intervene into our own affairs,” said Badr.

MP Omar Watani said Egyptian-American relations should be based on mutual respect. “In this respect I urge US congressmen to revise their positions and respect the sovereignty of Egypt and stop politicising the human rights agenda as a pretext to intervene into our own internal affairs,” said Watani.

“US Congressmen should be up to their responsibilities and adopt a constructive kind of dialogue with Egypt and Arab countries in order to create common ground and a strategic partnership.”

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