News / Africa

Egyptian Charges Against US Groups Deepen Rift with Washington

Egypt's decision to bring criminal charges against 19 Americans and other activists is deepening a rift between Washington and Cairo at a time of growing instability in the Middle East. The charges are tied to an investigation into illegal foreign funding of non-governmental organizations.

The heady, early days of Egypt's Arab Spring blossomed in Tahrir Square in Cairo.

It's where thousands of Egyptians gathered daily - the square's wide expanse serving as a grand stage for the nation's democratic aspirations.

But as a new spring approaches, a new drama unfolds, just blocks away at the U.S. Embassy.

There several Americans are holed up, charged with undermining Egypt's democratic transition.

Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri defends the case against them, despite the risk of losing U.S. aid because of it. "Egypt will abide by the law and implement it. Egypt has known civilization for thousands of years, so it can never go back because there is or there is not aid," Mr. al-Ganzouri said.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Aaron Snipe says the Obama administration is deeply disappointed.

“The government of Egypt's decision to charge these Americans will have consequences. We think that we must remain engaged because we value this relationship with the Egyptian people and the Egyptian government. We've got differences, for sure, and there are some real challenges that we have got to overcome,” Snipe said.

Most of the Americans were in Cairo supporting an electoral process to choose new lawmakers following the uprising against Mr. Mubarak. U.S. officials say they were supporting elections, not specific candidates or parties.

But Egyptian Judge Sameh Abu Zaid says that's not true. "The activities were mainly political and concerned the training of political parties and rallying voters' support for one candidate or the other," Zaid said.

Prime Minister al-Ganzouri says the foreign groups interfered in Egyptian affairs. "What is happening has, to a great extent, a methodology, and there are those who are directing it, and I don't know why it is thus being directed. Is it for the purpose of toppling military rule? If so, what happens after that?," he said.

Brookings Institution visiting fellow Khaled elGindy says holdovers from the ousted Mubarark government are using the charges to distract from popular discontent in Cairo. “They have tried to pin the blame on outside influences, foreign agendas, and, basically, ginning up (creating) these conspiracy theories.  And so, over time, eventually they have had to put names and places on these conspiracy theories, and the convenient scapegoats are these NGOs, who, frankly, have been working in Egypt even before last year's uprising,” elGindy said.

U.S. officials say the case has broad implications for relations between Washington and Cairo - not only military assistance, but support for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks as well as efforts to end the violence in Syria.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid