Consul General: US embassy does not fund political activities in Egypt

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The United States Consul General to Alexandria Stephen Fakan said on Monday that the US embassy in Cairo does not fund any internal political activity in Egypt, highlighting his country’s support for democracy and freedom of expression.

Egyptian authorities have tracked direct funding provided by some embassies to registered and unregistered civil society organisations operating in Egypt, a deputy for Egypt’s foreign minister said in October.

Meeting with the Salafi movement, for example, does not mean that the US endorses this group, MENA reported Fakan as saying, adding that he did talk with some members belonging to the Salafi movement regardless of their beliefs, as his job is to talk with all segments of the society.

The US will not fund the Salafis, or any other group before the upcoming elections, which we remain unaware of their date, Fakan said.

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi amended in September Article 78 of Egypt’s Penal Code in a manner which makes defendants accused of receiving foreign funds with the purpose of “harming the state” subject to being sentenced to life in prison or death.

Several civil society organisations in Egypt depend on foreign funding due to the scarcity of their resources.

The current civil society law obliges organisations to seek the government’s permission before raising any funds to support them.

Washington deals with President Al-Sisi as the president “elected by the will of the people”, Fakan said, citing the president’s joint meeting with President Obama in New York on the sidelines of the 69th session of United Nations’ General Assembly as “proof”.

“We have dealt with former president Mohamed Morsi out of compliance with the rules and international norms and respect of the will of Egyptians at that time, before they changed their minds,” Fakan said.

“Ultimately these are matters of internal Egyptian affairs, which must be respected and Washington handles the changes as they develop,” the diplomat maintained.