CAIRO: Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit has branded the European Parliament (EP) as “ignorant for passing a resolution criticizing Egypt’s human rights record.
On Thursday, the EP adopted a resolution during a relatively empty session, criticizing Egypt’s Human Rights record despite threats from Egypt that they would sever ties with the assembly if the resolution was passed.
“The resolution reveals the [European] assembly s ignorance of the situation in Egypt … as well as ignorance of the political, economic and social reforms that Egypt has witnessed in recent years, Aboul Gheit told reporters.
“Egypt totally rejects attempts by anyone who takes it upon himself to be an investigator of human rights in Egypt, he added.
Egypt’s protestations and decision to call in EU ambassadors in Cairo to explain the resolution did not dissuade the parliament from its course.
“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, Cohn-Bendit added.
Foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said in a statement that the parliament’s decision “will have negative consequences on Egyptian-European relations, adding that 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.
The foreign ministry had called in the EU ambassadors “to inform them of Egypt s complete rejection of a draft resolution over human rights in Egypt, Zaki said in the statement.
Most of the 780 members of the European parliament had left by the time the voting on the resolution came, but it passed when 52 of the 59 parliamentarians present voted in favor of the resolution, with the other seven abstaining.
The resolution balks at several aspects of Egypt’s Human Rights record such as the use of torture, the rights of religious minorities and the long running state of emergency law.
It also called for the immediate release of former presidential candidate Ayman Nour, jailed for fraud soon after the 2005 elections and widely reported to be ailing from ill-health behind bars.
Nour’s wife Gamila Ismail, could not be reached for comment despite several attempts by Daily News Egypt to contact her.
Prior to the resolution’s successful adoption, the Egyptian parliament had threatened to sever ties with its European counterpart if the text was passed.People’s Assembly speaker Fathi Sorour declared that “The People’s Assembly will consider cutting ties with the European Parliament … as long as it continues to use the language of commands and condescension.
Such a resolution would lead to “harming the historic relationship between Egypt and Europe, he added.
The vote is expected to weigh heavily on a meeting in Cairo next week between Egyptian and European Commission officials, with human rights issues due to be discussed.