Washington Post: Minister Who Triggered Raids on Pro-democracy Groups Says U.S. Used the Groups to Control the Future of Egypt

Egyptian Minister says U.S. Tried to Use NGOs to Control Country’s Future
The Washington Post
By Ernesto Londoño

CAIRO — The Egyptian minister who triggered raids on American-funded pro-democracy organizations in December has said that the United States tried to use the groups to control the future of post-revolutionary Egypt.

She made the statement to judicial authorities handling an investigation of the raids, the state news agency reported Monday.

The report in the Middle East News Agency provides new insight into why the government has acted so aggressively in investigating the work of several non-governmental organizations, including the Washington-based International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute.

“The United States decided to use all its resources and tools to contain the situation and push it in a direction that promotes American and also Israeli interests,” Faiza Abou el-Naga, the minister who coordinates foreign aid, told the investigative judges assigned to the case last fall, the news service reported.

The raids caused consternation in Washington, where lawmakers have threatened to cut off the roughly $1.5 billion Egypt gets in U.S. aid this year, unless the American NGO workers in Egypt now under a travel ban are allowed to leave the country.

Later this week, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will lead a congressional delegation that is expected to press for the release of the Americans during a stop in Cairo.

McCain is a ranking member of the Armed Services Committee and chairman of IRI board. IRI’s Egypt director, Sam LaHood, one of the Americans banned from traveling, is the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.   

“I am hopeful that before we get there, we can have the issue resolved,” McCain said in an interview Sunday on Fox News. “If not, obviously it will be our highest priority.”

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