CAIRO: Egypt has responded furiously to the latest bout of US criticism regarding a campaign of arrests and a US report on the general state of human rights in the country.
Besides comments by White House spokeswoman Dana Perino citing American concern over a “campaign of arrests involving Muslim Brotherhood members prior to local council elections, the US State Department’s annual human rights report was also critical of Egypt.
In a statement released by the foreign ministry, spokesman Hossam Zaki made it “clear that Egypt rejected the State Department report and also rejected “that any country would appoint itself guardian for world human rights and issue judgments in this respect.
As for Perino’s comments, Zaki said it reflected “a lack of understanding of Egypt’s political reality, adding accusingly that it “raised questions at the same time about the true motivations behind the content of these statements.
The State Department report on Egypt had concluded that the regime sought to “thwart all forms of opposition, suppress civil society and the press, which it cracked down on heavily in the past year.
“The report was unfortunately not objective, presenting the biased views of some non-governmental organizations. It neglects the social components surrounding the human rights development process, the foreign ministry spokesman responded.
Perino had told reporters at a briefing Wednesday, “We are concerned by a continuing campaign of arrests in Egypt of individuals who are opponents of the current governing party and are involved in the upcoming local elections.
“The people of Egypt should be permitted to choose freely among competing candidates, Perino concluded.
Zaki dismissed these comments in his statement claiming that Egypt regarded “such remarks as efforts by these parties to gain points internally; hence they are not concerned with dealing with such issues in detail or commenting on them objectively.
The US Congress had decided to freeze $100 million of aid to Egypt partially because of concerns about human rights but this was later waived by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Egypt is the second largest recipient of US aid in the world after Israel.
On that decision Press Attaché at the American Embassy in Egypt Margaret White previously told Daily News Egypt, “There is no inconsistency. The administration for some time has contended that conditions in US economic and military assistance would not be effective in encouraging human rights and other reforms.
“We support democracy and human rights but tying the aid will not accomplish that. We continue to be involved in a range of activities to support human rights in Egypt. We also recognize that reform in Egypt must be an Egyptian process, White added.
On human rights in Egypt Zaki said, “Egypt’s international commitments towards human rights are the only source of our international obligations in this issue.
On the domestic front, “Egypt is exerting continuous official and non-official efforts in the field of developing human rights system, and guaranteeing their progress. To protect citizens’ rights . and fulfill the interests of the state and society, Zaki said.