Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi told a number of US Congress members in a meeting that human rights and freedoms in Egypt shouldn’t be viewed from a “western perspective.”
Sisi received a delegation of Republican senators headed by senator Jim Risch on the sidelines of a celebration held in Sharm El-Sheikh earlier this week to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the inception of parliamentary life in Egypt.
During the meeting, Sisi asserted Egypt’s keenness to bolster strategic ties and bilateral relations with the US, according to a statement by presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef.
The Egyptian president also discussed the recent local developments as well as the country’s counter-terrorism efforts, stressing on Egypt’s keenness to purge religious discourse of extremist ideas that are exploited by terrorist groups to achieve their goals.
Sisi confirmed Egypt’s commitment to upholding the values of democracy and the rule of law. He, however, said that freedoms and human rights in Egypt shouldn’t be perceived from “a western perspective due to differences in challenges and local and regional circumstances.”
He added that democracy is an extended and ongoing process and that Egypt is keen to move forward towards it.
Egypt has been facing wide local and international criticism during the past few years over purported human rights violations, such as enforced disappearances, extrajudicial detention, extended periods of pre-trial detention and crackdown on the freedom of belief and expression.
According to the statement, Sisi warned against the fall of nation states in the region and its consequences, which might lead to spread of terrorist groups over the Middle East, saying that a political solution needs to be reached in conflict-worn countries.
Meanwhile, Risch lauded Egypt’s efforts in achieving stability, expressing the importance of Egypt’s stability amidst the state of unrest in the region.
He also confirmed Egypt’s pivotal role in the region as a “key pillar to security and stability,” reiterating his country’s support for Egypt’s counter-terrorism efforts.
Risch was among a number of senators who supported a proposal, which was rejected by the majority of the senate, to cut off USD 1.5 billion in aid to Cairo in 2013.
The amendment, introduced by Republican Senator Rand Paul, called for obeying a law that ordered to cutting off military assistance to countries where “the military takes over or participates in a substantial way in removing an elected government.”
The US administration however declined to label the military’s ouster of then-president Mohamed Morsi following mass protests against his rule as a coup.
Source: Aswat Masrya