Egypt’s ruling military council will not accept foreign intervention in the country’s affairs, a council source told a London-based newspaper amid tension between Egypt and the US over rights organizations.
Asharq Al-Awsat quoted the source as saying that Egypt is an independent state with complete sovereignty, and that the Egyptian judiciary doesn’t face pressure and will rule fairly on the civil society organizations issue.
“Some rights organizations are trying to wage a media war to affect the case, but we vowed to save this country and keep its judiciary independent,” the source said.
A delegation from the Egyptian Defense Ministry arrived in New York Sunday to visit some US military bases and for the central command to follow up on the military cooperation between Egypt and the US.
Some Arab news reports linked the delegation’s visit to the rights organizations issue, a connection the council source denied.
Egyptian authorities on 17 December raided rights organizations, three of which were affiliated with the US. Investigators also banned six Americans from traveling, claiming they were involved in the case. One of them was the son of the US transportation secretary.
The moves garnered resentment from Washington. Michael Posner, the US assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, urged Cairo to review the decisions during a visit he paid to Cairo last week to urge the lifting of the Emergency Law.
Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama discussed the NGOs issue in a telephone conversation with Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
“The president reinforced the necessity of upholding universal principles and emphasized the important role that civil society, including non-governmental organizations, have in a democratic society,” the White House said in a statement.
Egypt has long been among the top recipients of US aid, which began flowing in substantial sums after it became the first Arab nation to sign a peace agreement with Israel in 1979, regarding the money as an investment in regional security.
According to a report by the Congressional Research Service, the US gave roughly US$2 billion or more annually for 25 years after the peace agreement, most of it for the military. That figure has lowered to about $1.55 billion in recent years.