Leadership Council for Human Rights

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Cairo threatens to sever ties with EU over EU human rights resolution

With the European Union passing a resolution Thursday criticizing Egypt’s human rights record, Cairo said it may cut ties with the assembly, Agence France-Presse reported Thursday.

“The European Parliament is sovereign and decides what it wants to decide,” Greens leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit told AFP in Strasbourg. “If we have to criticize the rights situation in Egypt or Guantanamo or anywhere else, we're going to do it. I couldn’t care less what they think in the Egyptian capital.”

According to the article, “The resolution criticizes Egypt over the status of religious minorities, alleged torture practices and the decades-long state of emergency. It also calls for the immediate release of jailed dissident Ayman Nour, who mounted an unprecedented campaign against President Hosni Mubarak in the 2005 presidential elections.”

AFP noted that Nour “was jailed for five years for fraud in a conviction widely seen as politically motivated.”

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry notified EU ambassadors of its “complete rejection of a draft resolution over human rights in Egypt,” spokesman Hossam Zaki said in a statement.

The ministry “will not accept any attempt by any country to comment on the human rights situation in Egypt, as it will not allow itself to lecture other countries over their domestic affairs,” Zaki said.

“The People’s Assembly (Egypt’s lower house) will consider cutting ties with the European Parliament... as long as it continues to use the language of commands and condescension,” Fathi Surur, the speaker of Egypt’s parliament, told the official MENA news agency, rejecting the draft text as a “flagrant interference in Egypt’s domestic affairs.”

He said the resolution threatened to “harm the historic relationship between Egypt and Europe.”

For the full article, click here.


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