Egypt has accused the United States of meddling in its internal affairs, after Washington called for international monitors to observe the country's upcoming parliamentary elections.
In a strongly worded statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Thursday the U.S. is acting like an "overseer" and not respecting the country's sovereignty.
Cairo expressed dismay about a November 2 meeting in Washington between U.S. President Barack Obama's national security advisors and a group of American foreign policy analysts pushing for political reform in Egypt. The Foreign Ministry described the bipartisan Egypt Working Group as aiming to "spread chaos in the Middle East."
On Monday, the U.S. State Department said Egypt should allow peaceful political gatherings, open media coverage and international observers in the run-up to the parliamentary elections. A former U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Edward Walker, Tuesday echoed the U.S. call for those observers in a panel discussion at VOA's Washington headquarters this week.
But Egyptian Press and Information Office director Karim Haggag told the audience that Egypt has a system of judges and other safeguards in place to monitor the fairness of elections. He said the government has issued guidelines to candidates for free and fair coverage.
Egypt has come under international criticism for its election process. Human rights groups have criticized its rights record, saying Egyptian authorities have used force against political opponents and voters to keep President Hosni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic party in power.
Ambassador Walker said Egypt must work to ensure that candidates have the freedom to campaign and are not denied access to the media.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.