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  • Tuesday ,21 March 2017

Egyptian-American parliamentary friendship association to be formed in Cairo: MP


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Monday ,20 March 2017

Egyptian-American parliamentary friendship association to be formed in Cairo: MP

Dahlia Youssef, a member of the Egyptian parliament's foreign relations committee, disclosed Sunday that a US congressional delegation will visit Egypt next month to review relations between Cairo and Washington. "The visit will come as part of efforts to put Egyptian-American relations back on a sound track," said Youssef.

Youssef, who was on a one-week visit to Washington, also disclosed that "an Egyptian parliamentary delegation will visit the United States very soon."
"President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is expected to meet with new US President Donald Trump in the White House early April, and it is expected that his visit will be followed by another visit from an Egyptian parliamentary delegation to Washington in April or May," said Youssef.
Youssef told reporters that she has high hopes that an Egyptian-American parliamentary friendship association will be formed in Cairo next month.
"Like we formed parliamentary friendship associations with MPs from Germany, England, and Russia, we will also probe the possibility of doing the same with American congressional leaders who will visit Cairo next month," said Youssef.
Youssef said her one-week visit to the United States aimed to open channels with American congressmen and officials close to US President Donald Trump.
"While I was keen to meet with President Trump's advisor for Middle East affairs, Walid Pharis, and officials from the State Department, I was also interested in visiting some American research centres to discuss terrorism, radical Islam, and reform of religious discourse," said Youssef.
She added that she also visited a number of high-profile American companies that have investments in Egypt, especially in areas of automobiles, oil exploration and pharmaceuticals.
While Youssef was in Washington, US mainstream media voiced opposition to a campaign aimed to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation. Media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and CNN insisted on portraying the Muslim Brotherhood as a moderate and non-violent organisation.
"The American media's campaign whitewashing the Muslim Brotherhood was not new and came as no surprise to me," said Youssef, adding that "most of the officials and MPs" she met agreed that "the new administration of Donald Trump is serious on confronting radical Islam and I think that this will be a top priority of discussion when President El-Sisi visits Washington next month."
According to Youssef, political centres in Washington, especially congress members affiliated with the Republican Party, agree that the new administration of Donald Trump wants to open a new page with Egypt. She cited Republican Congressman Steve King as stressing that "there is a strong desire in the Donald Trump administration and among Republican Congress members to move Egyptian-American relations forward and that the two countries develop a new strategy against political Islam."
King self-financed a trip to Egypt in 2015 after the US House of Representatives' leadership revoked his funding to join a congressional delegation to Cairo.
Youssef said US officials and Congressmen strongly believe that Egypt's role in a new anti-radical Islam strategy is highly crucial.
"They also said they believe that Egypt's role in finding a solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will be highly important in the coming period," said Youssef.
Meanwhile, Egypt parliament's foreign relations committee held a meeting 15 March to review Egyptian-American relations. Tarek El-Khouli, secretary of parliament's foreign relations committee, told reporters that "the meeting focused on President El-Sisi's visit to Washington and the expected exchange of visits between MPs in Egypt and America."
El-Khouli said a number of US Congress members have lately shown interest in forming a parliamentary friendship association with Egyptian MPs.
"We hope that we will meet with these Congress members next month to form an Egyptian-American parliamentary friendship association," said El-Khouli.
El-Khouli said such a friendship association will be highly effective in conducting a fruitful dialogue on relations between Cairo and Washington. "A main objective of such an association is also to stand up to American liberal media campaigns that are supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islam movements," said El-Khouli.
Many Egyptian MPs believe that Egypt's President El-Sisi's visit to Washington will focus on ways to stand up to radical Islamist movements, especially the Muslim Brotherhood.
Youssef said what was encouraging during her visit to Washington was that "several American media outlets were mobilised to stand up to the pro-Muslim Brotherhood campaign led by The New York Times and expose its lies."
"I was also happy that Trump officials and US congressmen said the pro-Brotherhood campaign will not dissuade the new administration from making a move against the organisation."
Speculation is rife in Cairo that Trump and El-Sisi will call for an international conference on terrorism to be held in Egypt.