News / USA

    US Senators Speak Out on Egypt

    Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., makes a statement on the crisis in Egypt, on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 02, 2011.
    Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., makes a statement on the crisis in Egypt, on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 02, 2011.

    Even before Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's announcement that he will not seek reelection, U.S. senators were speaking of his departure from power as a given.  Senators from both major political parties said Tuesday that U.S. aid to Egypt has been money well spent, and showed no inclination to alter or cut off that aid - at least for now.  

    Hours beforeMr. Mubarak's statement, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry, said Egyptians have "moved beyond" their president. The Massachusetts Democrat said that declining to run for reelection should be but a first step for the Egyptian leader.

    "To go even further - to move to put together a caretaker government over these next months in order to avoid violence and help transition Egypt to the future that its people want and deserve," he said.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., right, and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo. take part in a news conference,on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 02, 2011.
    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., right, and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo. take part in a news conference,on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 02, 2011.
    Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina echoed the call for a caretaker government, and urged continued U.S. engagement with Egypt.

    "I think it would be wise for us [i.e., the United States] to be on the ground floor of helping this transition, rather than having a totally hands-off policy," he said.

    The Obama administration has applauded calls for change in Egypt, but says Egyptians must decide their country’s future.  For decades, Egypt has been one of the biggest recipients of U.S. foreign aid, totaling more than $1.5 billion a year during the past decade.

    Connecticut Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman says it is money well spent.

    "It did support a government which, over the years, has been very instrumental in maintaining stability in the Middle East," said Lieberman. "The second thing is, a lot of the money goes to the Egyptian military.  And I think even in this moment of crisis, we see that the military is playing a critically important role in unifying the country."

    Lieberman says now is not the time to threaten Egyptians or their military with a cut-off of U.S. aid.

    Senate Foreign Relations Committee's ranking Republican, Sen. Richard Lugar (File Photo).
    Senate Foreign Relations Committee's ranking Republican, Sen. Richard Lugar (File Photo).
    Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, agrees.

    "I think it would be inappropriate to be having that discussion while the Egyptians themselves are attempting to formulate appropriate governance," said Lugar.

    Fellow Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine also says U.S. aid to Egypt has been constructive for both nations and the Middle East as a whole.  But she hesitates when asked whether she would guarantee future American assistance to Egypt.

    "I think it is premature to make that conclusion," said Collins. "For example, if somehow the Muslim Brotherhood gained control of the country, then clearly we would not be giving any aid to Egypt."

    Founded in the 1920s to resist British control of Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is a transnational Islamist political movement currently banned in the country.

    Senator Lieberman says he does not assume that a new Egyptian leadership would be hostile to the United States or Israel. But he adds that President Mubarak can help assure the best possible outcome.

    "He is a patriot, a nationalist," said Lieberman. "And one of the great tests of a leader is how you end your time of leadership and transfer power to somebody else, hopefully in a way that is even better for the country. And the people of Egypt are obviously asking for change."

    U.S. senators are publicly backing that change and generally appear cautiously optimistic about what that change could bring.

     

    NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora