Egypt says working `diligently` to end NGO row: McCain

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 00:35

Cairo: Egypt says it is working "diligently" to resolve a bitter row with Washington over alleged illicit funding of NGOs for which American and other activists are due to stand trial, US Senator John McCain said on Monday.
Egypt`s military ruler Field Marshal Hussein "Tantawi has assured us they are working very diligently to resolve the NGO issue," he told a news conference in Cairo during a visit aimed at defusing the row between the traditional allies.
But fellow Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is
accompanying McCain, said the crackdown on the NGOs accused of
receiving illegal foreign aid was "politically motivated."

"As an American, I`m offended," he said.
Washington has already hinted that the crackdown could
harm its long-standing ties with the Egyptian government.

The trial of 43 democracy activists, including 19
Americans, working for local and foreign NGOs operating in
Egypt, is due to begin on Sunday, according to Egyptian
judicial sources.

The defendants are charged with "establishing unlicensed
chapters of international organisations and accepting foreign
funding to finance these groups in a manner that breached the
Egyptian state`s sovereignty," the official MENA news agency
reported.

Among the foreign NGOs targeted are the National
Democratic Institute, the the International Republican
Institute (IRI) and Freedom House, all from the United States.

The main suspect, Sam LaHood, is the son of US Secretary
of Transportation Ray LaHood and heads the Egyptian chapter of
the IRI. (AFP)

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 00:35

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