Egyptian parliamentary delegation headed by Speaker Ali Abdel Aal in a meeting with Speaker Paul Ryan and House of Representatives members during a visit to the U.S. – Press Photo
CAIRO – 2 November 2017: Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Paul Ryan praised Egypt's leading role in bringing order to certain Arab World countries that suffered unrest, expressing U.S. support to Egypt in its war on terror.
This came in a meeting on Thursday with an Egyptian parliamentary delegation headed by speaker Ali Abdel Aal during his visit to the United States.
Abdel Aal suggested establishing an Egyptian-U.S. parliamentary friendship association facilitating communication and dialogue over differing views on various issues between both sides.
He said that the goal of the NGOs Law in Egypt is to ensure that donations collected by some civil society organizations would not be channeled to funding terrorism, especially since a number of those operate within a religious framework and agenda.
The law promulgated in September waives the requirement calling for a license to establish an NGO, allowing founders to simply inform authorities. Abdel Aal highlighted that any shortcomings in its executive charter, which is still being articulated, would be remedied promptly out of the Egyptian state's desire to establish a strong civil society.
Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, expressed her understanding of Egypt's cautiousness of terror funding, stressing that it should affect the freedom of NGOs operating in Egypt.
Regarding the status of Christians in Egypt, constituting 10 percent of the population, Parliament Member Mariane Azer affirmed that there is no existing discrimination against them, and that Muslims and Christians are equal in rights and duties.
At the beginning of the meeting also attended by Majority leader Steve Scalise, a Republican, Abdel Aal extended condolences for the victims of the recent terror attack in New York.
The Egyptian speaker stated on Wednesday that cutting U.S. aid to Egypt contradicts the strategic relations between the two countries and gives the impression that bilateral ties are unstable.
This was during the six-day visit of the parliamentarians’ delegation to the U.S. during which Abdel Aal met with U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch on Wednesday. This visit was the first for the Egyptian parliamentary speaker since 2008.
Several meetings took place during the visit that were attended by members of the Egyptian parliament, the American Chamber of Commerce, the Middle East Strategic Institute, U.S. Congress, and the House of Representatives' speaker Paul Ryan.
During these meetings, several topics were discussed, including the latest economic reform measures taken by the Egyptian government, the new investment law, the major challenges Egypt is facing on all levels, and the Palestinian reconciliation.
In August, the U.S. decided to deny Egypt almost $100 million in aid and hold back another $195 million until it sees improvements in Cairo's track record on human rights and democracy.