AmCham head moves to thwart US congressional bill critical of Egypt

American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Egypt President Shafik Gabr arrived in Washington on Wednesday to meet with members of US Congress in an effort to persuade them to refrain from issuing a resolution demanding that Egypt “hold fair elections, allow international monitoring of elections, and respect democracy and human rights.”

Informed sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Gabr, who is also a leading member of the ruling National Democratic Party of President Hosni Mubarak, had been dispatched expressly for this purpose by the Egyptian government.

In the bill, which is expected to be passed in the coming two weeks, the US accuses Egypt of suppressing democracy and abusing human rights, emphasizing the Egyptian regime's tight grip on power. The bill also describes Egypt’s longstanding emergency law as “suspect,” noting that Mubarak "had promised his people the law would be abolished but did not follow through with his promise.”

“The Egyptian government promised that this law would only be used for crimes related to drugs and terrorism, but it has also employed it against political opponents,” the bill states. “The US therefore calls on the Egyptian government to abolish the emergency law within the next few months, as it is being used to silence critics and stifle the opposition."

The draft resolution also describes Egypt’s respect for human rights as “poor” and accuses Cairo of “restricting the people’s ability to bring about change.” The bill goes on to urge Egypt to show greater respect for human rights and civil liberties so that ”the aid [Egypt] receives from the US does not affect its credibility in front of the outside world.”

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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