Senator John Hoeven met late Thursday with Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Mohamed Tawfik to express his concern for Americans in Egypt and to seek assurances that the Egyptian government will provide strict security to the U.S. embassy in Cairo, and also to United States citizens living or traveling in Egypt.
Hoeven was in Egypt in February with Senator John McCain to help secure the release of North Dakota native Staci Haag and 19 other Americans who were working for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Egypt. She and others Americans were threatened with trial in Egyptian courts for promoting democracy and human rights. The Egyptian government lifted the travel ban the following week after Hoeven and McCain pressed the case with Egyptian authorities.
At Thursday's meeting, the senator told Ambassador Tawfik that both the United States and Egypt can benefit from good relations and that we welcome the start of democracy in Egypt, but that the United States will focus on key signs for the relationship to proceed. Those include Egypt's respect for the Camp David Peace Accord with Israel and partnering with the United States in fighting extremism and terrorism. Hoeven also expressed deep concern regarding Iran's effort to achieve a nuclear weapons capability, which would threaten not just the region but the United States and allies beyond and called on Egypt to play a role in preventing such a destabilizing development.
"Egypt is viewed as a leader in the Middle East and beyond, and consequently a stable democratic government in the country is vital to the economic and political stability of the entire region," Hoeven said. "While we're supportive of Egyptian democracy and have offered financial aid to stabilize the country's economy, continued assistance will depend on the Egyptian leadership's sustained effort to establish legitimate and open democratic institutions."