UN senior delegation in Cairo supports Egypt’s transition

Alaa Murad , Monday 28 Feb 2011

UN Under-Secretary-General and delegation in Egypt to ascertain developments and offer support during Egypt’s transition, which they state “must be an Egyptian process”

UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Lynn Pascoe, holds a press conference Sunday in Cairo where he notes the significance of recent events and the influence they have had on Egypt and the world.

He assured that the United Nations has always valued the importance of Egypt’s position and its work with the UN will continue to be important.

An entire, assorted delegation of senior UN officials from the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia and the United Nations Development Programme visited Egypt to investigate the current situation and see how the world organisation can assist Egypt.

“We come here first and foremost to listen,” he added.

The importance that Egypt is undergoing a transitional phase was emphasised, but so was the assurance that the future of the country lies in the hands of the Egyptian people themselves.

“This is - and must be - an Egyptian process,” Pascoe stated.

Therefore, Pascoe’s delegation refrained from commenting on the constitutional amendments saying it was an internal Egyptian affair, however, confirmed that it has been discussed at length in the past few days.

With regards to the delegations’ talks with Egyptian representatives he said the government seemed open and understanding of the UN’s role and the support it could provide, adding that they will continue to work together.

Pascoe’s delegation did not meet with Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, but did hold discussions with some 20 of Tahrir’s youth. Meetings were also held with a wide range of human rights and women groups.

"The transition will not be easy, Egypt faces many challenges," Pascoe said, asserting the UN’s availability to provide help when needed.

“We are hardly starting from scratch,” he referred to an already established UN programme in Egypt which could be altered to fit the aspirations of the nation.

As for Libya’s current situation, the UN again called for an immediate end to violence. Pascoe recounted the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) latest resolution with regards to the country, whereby Muammar Gaddafi, members of his family, and some senior officials had their accounts frozen and were prohibited from travelling.

The UNSC also transferred the Libyan file to the International Criminal Court to study the possibility of launching a probe into the ongoing bloody ventures the regime is exercising on its people.

Pascoe concluded with the important role Egypt exercises in the region saying “you need only look at how events developed to understand its influence.”

But with regards to the future role Egypt could play in international affairs, Pascoe said “who will play what role and how, is up for debate.”

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