US official meets Egyptian activists to talk democracy

A representative from the United States Department of State met on Monday with nine Egyptian human rights activists at the US embassy in Cairo.

Tamara Cofman Wittes, deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, met with Egyptian activists who had been participating in programs organized by Freedom House, a Washington-based non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights. Wittes is responsible at the State Department for democracy, human rights and public diplomacy.

In her meeting with the Egyptian activists, Wittes emphasized Washington’s "formulation of appropriate policies" toward Egypt and other countries in the region. Wittes’s tour included a stop in Tunisia, and she will also visit Jordan and Jerusalem.

Wittes asked the activists about their roles in the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections and how the programs organized by Freedom House have affected their political participation, sources said.

Wittes also told the activists that reform should come from inside Egypt and not be imposed by external powers. Ahmed Sameeh, head of the Andalus Center for Tolerance and ِ Anti-Violence Studies, who attended the meeting, said that Wittes requested funding for election monitoring projects, cautioning that the Egyptian regime should first display willingness to conduct fair elections in which all segments of society participate.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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