Egyptian coalition in US seeks to form lobby

New York–A group of Egyptians in the United States are hoping to work together to push for democratic reform in their home country. The Alliance of Egyptian-Americans held a meeting in New York this week, titled “The Future of Democracy in Egypt,” to discuss the path to reform.

The alliance condemned Egypt’s extension of its state of emergency and described US President Barack Obama’s position on the renewal of the law as “unclear,” expressing deep concern over what they considered a lukewarm response to the Emergency Law from the White House. The Emergency Law has been in force for almost 30 years and gives the government sweeping powers of arrest.

Members of the alliance said the Emergency Law goes against American values, human rights, and the aspirations of Egyptians. The alliance urged President Obama to fulfill pledges he has made to support the right of nations to introduce change.

The current state of affairs in Egypt will eventually harm the strategic and national interests of the US, participants in the meeting said. 

A delegation of Egyptian opposition leaders, which includes politicians and members of Mohamed Elbaradei’s pro-reform group the National Association for Change, is scheduled to meet today with Michele Dunne, a former specialist on Middle East affairs at the US Department of State and a member of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The Egyptian delegation, including Osama el-Ghazali Harb, Mahmoud el-Khodeiry and George Ishaq, will also meet with members from the Coalition of Egyptian Organizations in North America, to discuss the latest political developments in Egypt.

Mokhtar Kamel, vice president of the Coalition of Egyptian Organizations in North America, said the alliance is launching a wide-scale campaign to raise funds from expatriate Egyptians in the US to support candidates for the Congressional elections. This effort, he added, is intended to help Egyptian expatriates become involved in the American political process with a view to forming an Egyptian lobby akin to the influential Jewish lobby in the US. Lobbying groups regularly contribute to congressional campaigns to gain favor with candidates. A lobby, Kamel said, would allow expatriate Egyptians to pressure on members of the American Congress to take decisions in favor of democracy in Egypt.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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