Parliament defense committee calls for removal of Ganzouri govt

Parliament’s Defense and National Security Committee on Sunday called for withdrawing confidence in the government and forming a coalition government led by the Freedom and Justice Party.

Members of the committee, headed by MP Farid Ismail, said Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri’s government statement last month was shocking and failed to meet people’s expectations.

The committee said the statement did not address critical issues such as security and the restructuring of the Interior Ministry, or suggest ways to boost the economy.

Committee members severely criticized the government for its position on the foreign-funded NGOs case and a decision to lift the ban on the foreigners implicated in it.

Authorities had placed criminal charges on 43 NGO workers, including Americans, in a case that sparked tension between the US and Egypt.

Ismail said the People’s Assembly will hold a session on Sunday to discuss this issue, which he said has undermined Egyptian dignity and sovereignty.

He added that the committee called for summoning officials involved in lifting the ban on Americans accused in the foreign-funded NGOs case.

The committee also recommended that Egypt diversify its sources of weapons instead of depending entirely on the US, saying several countries are ready to supply Egypt with arms.

Since 1979, Egypt has been receiving annual US military aid estimated at US$1.3 billion, which the US threatened to suspend when its citizens were brought to trial in the NGOs case.

Ismail also said the committee calls for the release of Egyptian prisoners in US prisons, including Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who is serving a life sentence there over charges of terrorism.

Meanwhile, the economic committee prevented media from covering its meeting, which tackled the foreign-funded NGOs case.

Sources from the committee said Planning and International Cooperation Minister Fayza Abouelnaga, who attended the meeting, asked to ban media coverage of the meeting to keep secret any details that could anger Egyptians.

Translated from MENA

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