United States Capitol west front - Creative Commons via Wikipedia
CAIRO - 28 April 2017: Egypt’s Foreign Ministry condemned the U.S. Senate session on Egypt, saying on Thursday the manner in which it was organized was “blatantly” different from the norm followed for many years in such meetings, leading to “bias and a deliberate negative assessment of the situation” in the country.
The ministry’s spokesperson Ahmed Abou Zeid claimed in his statement that the session was held purposely to “harm the positive relations Egypt has with the current U.S. administration,” as three former officials known for their “absolute bias against Egypt, siding with foreign forces and interests.”
He noted that normally, witnesses who voice different opinions are invited to ensure an impartial and rich debate, but the three witnesses “deliberately ignored the important and vital role Egypt plays to support stability in the Middle East and its heroic stances at the forefront of the war on terror and toxic, extremist ideas, as well as the security, economic and social challenges it is facing as a result of its firm position against surrounding destabilization factors in the region.”
Abou Zeid called on the Congress to contribute positively to “mending the relations and to counter the campaign that aims to spoil the new positive spirit” that should open new horizons in strategic relations between the two countries; at a time the world is facing challenges that require strong partnerships between global and regional forces.
Michele Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who served as a Middle East expert from 1986 to 2003 in the State Department, Elliott Abrams of the Council on Foreign Relations, former official in the George W. Bush administration; and Tom Malinowski, former assistant secretary of State for democracy and human rights in the Barack Obama administration, all delivered a critical view on Egypt.
On Tuesday, the experts said Egypt no longer plays a significant role in the region, and its military is still structured to be ready for a war with Israel, rather than to fight terrorism. They also referred to human rights abuses, and recommended a review in the U.S.’s aid to Cairo, betting this would not affect the stability of Egyptian-Israeli relations.
Senator Lindsey Graham, the chairman of Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, said, “what I see is disheartening ... and as to the taxpayer dollars we have, I think we're obligated to spend them wisely, consistent with our values."
“We need to reshape the relationship in a way that’s sustainable,” said Graham, a Republican and an avid supporter of Israel, criticizing the strong role Egypt’s military plays in the economy.