Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) today issued the following statement after it was announced that seven American NGO workers are returning home from Egypt following the Egyptian government's decision to lift their travel restrictions:
"The release of these Americans helps defuse a crisis that was jeopardizing America's assistance with Egypt's democratic transition at a particularly volatile moment. Building a vibrant civil society in Egypt is integral to a working democracy, and these recent events underscored the fragility and uncertainty of that process. I remain concerned about the recent moves against Egyptian non-governmental organizations. Hopefully today's action reflects a new willingness to respect Egyptian civil society and attention can be refocused on Egypt's precarious economy. As I said on my visits to Cairo after the revolution, without adequate attention to the economic challenge, Tahrir Square could again be filled with protests calling for something other than democracy. Egyptians cannot afford to win a revolution but lose this moment of opportunity.
"I also want to underscore a grave concern of mine about a situation in Egypt. For two years now, I have been engaged with Egyptian and American officials about the illegal and still unresolved abduction of Colin Bower's two young boys from Massachusetts. While innocent Americans are now returning home after the NGO crackdown, Colin Bower's struggle to be reunited with his sons continues. I will redouble efforts to encourage Egyptian authorities to work with our government to resolve this case as soon as possible and return the boys to their father who was granted sole legal custody of his sons."