CAIRO: A high level delegation from the UN held talks with Egypt’s foreign minister and other cabinet officials in three days of meetings. Lynn Pascoe, the UN Under Secretary of Political Affairs led the group.
Speaking on Sunday, Pascoe said he will continue a dialogue with Egypt’s interim government who “seemed open and interested in UN support.”
Pascoe also said that Egypt is in a period of “critical transition,” adding that he felt there was a new sense of hope and possibility.
This group was dispatched by the Secretary General’s office to “come and listen,” and learn how the UN can best be of assistance.
When asked if the UN would be involved in monitoring Egypt’s upcoming elections Pascoe said the UN stopped doing election monitoring several years ago. He added the elections will best be monitored by internal groups who the UN could support.
Pascoe met with others in Egypt and said he had met with, “a team of twenty young men and women who changed the consciousness of Egypt.” While Egypt is currently controlled by its Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the UN delegation did not meet with any of its members, choosing instead to meet with a broad group of civil society organizations and youth.
The military has been heavily criticized since the events of Friday night when military officers ordered a crackdown on protesters in Tahrir Square. The protesters were mostly young men and women demanding an end to the 30-year old emergency law. Seen by many to be proof that the military does respect the people’s aspirations for democracy, the military later apologized and called it an “unintentional confrontation between the military police and the youth of the revolution.”
Along with Pascoe was Amat Al Alim Asowa, the Assistant Administrator of the UN Development Program; Mona Rishmawi from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights;, and Rima Khalaf from the UN Development Program.
Before the group completes its tour it will meet with Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States to discuss the situation in Libya and how the two organizations can work to improve the situation for Libyans.
The UN has a staff of almost 600 in Egypt, mostly in Cairo. During the protests that led to the ouster of Hosni Mubarak most of the staff and their families fled to Cyprus. Almost all have returned to continue supporting the UN’s numerous programs in Egypt.