December 05, 2016

Cardin Meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister

Senator raises good governance, human rights issues

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, released the following statement Monday after meeting with Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, in the Capitol:

“It was a pleasure to meet with Foreign Minister Shoukry and welcome him to the Senate today. Our two countries share a long-standing, strategic relationship that includes security, diplomatic, economic, educational, and tourism dimensions.

“I conveyed to the Foreign Minister that the United States will continue to stand with the Egyptian people as they confront violent extremism and threats from the Sinai and along the border with Libya. Additionally, I congratulated his government on their engagement with the International Monetary Fund and their difficult but necessary steps to stabilize the economy, implement reforms, and build a more prosperous future for all Egyptians.

“We also discussed the need for Egypt’s leaders to take steps toward political reform and prioritizing human rights and fundamental freedoms. The recently passed law on Civil Associations and Foundations would impose severe restrictions on civil society, undermining Egypt’s international commitments to the principle of freedom of association. I expressed my view that a vibrant, unfettered civil society is essential to promote good governance, political development, and prosperity, and that in my view the legislation should be amended before being enacted.

“Finally, I asked Foreign Minister Shoukry to look into the ongoing detention and trial of Egyptian-American Aya Hijazi, who has been unfairly imprisoned by Egyptian authorities since May 2014.  Many of my bipartisan colleagues and I are closely following Ms. Hijazi’s case and hope that is resolved in a fair and expeditious manner, and that she is released as soon as possible.” 

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