U.S. Senators Conclude Visit to Egypt
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and a delegation of bi-partisan senators concluded their visit to Egypt yesterday. In a statement delivered to the Egyptian press, McCain stressed the “continued importance of the U.S.-Egypt relationship,” and said, “We believe that what happens in Egypt will have a decisive impact on the future of the entire region.”
The delegation met to discuss the state of Egypt’s political transition, specifically the new constitution, religious tolerance, women’s rights, and the current trial of NGO workers. McCain stated, “America’s ability to continue our partnership with Egypt, to maintain our assistance to Egypt, to get greater American and foreign investment into Egypt, and to build international support for Egypt – all of this ultimately depends on the progress of democracy in Egypt.”
McCain told reporters that the delegation of senators will support an additional $480 million in budget assistance to Egypt, noting that “Among our group here, Democrats and Republicans, there is plenty that we disagree about. But when it comes to Egypt, we largely speak with one voice.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (R-NY) also commented on Egypt’s political transition saying, “We are very hopeful that Egypt navigates this tumultuous transition in a manner that includes all stakeholders so that Egypt’s people flourish in a stable, democratic country.”
In addition to meeting with Egyptian officials, the group met with members of Egyptian opposition parties as well as the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SMDK). Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) commented after the meeting with SMDK that she appreciated their courage and recognized them as a legal group representing the Syrian people.
The Senators will travel throughout the region for the next several days.