U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today made the following statement during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt:
"It is my great pleasure to return to Egypt with a large bipartisan group of my colleagues from the United States Senate: Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Chris Coons of Delaware.
"Over the past two days, we have met with a wide range of Egyptians -- the President, the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister, as well as leaders of the political opposition, civil society, and the business community. We have also met with the President and other senior leaders of the Syrian opposition coalition. And we are grateful for Egypt's continued support for the Syrian people and their legitimate representatives.
"Among our group here, Democrats and Republicans, there is plenty that we disagree about. But when it comes to Egypt, we largely speak with one voice.
"We all believe that what happens in Egypt will have a decisive impact on the future of this entire region.
"We all believe in the continued importance of the U.S.-Egypt relationship.
"We were all early supporters of the peaceful aspirations of the Egyptian people that inspired your revolution nearly two years ago -- for democracy, for economic opportunity, for the protection of justice and human rights under the rule of law.
"And we have come to Cairo with one major message: For us in the United States, especially in the Congress, the promise of Egyptian revolution is the opportunity is has presented us to recast our relationship with Egypt -- to make it a truly strategic partnership between our peoples, our nations, and our elected governments, not one that rests narrowly on one person or one party.
"America's ability to continue our partnership with Egypt, to maintain our assistance to Egypt, to get greater American and foreign investment into Egypt, and to build international support for Egypt -- all of this ultimately depends on the progress of democracy in Egypt. Not just the outcome of elections, or the election of one person or group or another, but on the construction of an inclusive political system, based on the rule of law, that respects the rights of all Egyptian citizens, reforms and grows the Egyptian economy, and upholds Egypt's international agreements.
"In this spirit, during our meetings, we have discussed the upcoming parliamentary election and the importance for that vote to be free, fair, competitive, and consistent with international standards, including the presence of international observers. This will be a matter for Egyptians to decide, especially through the drafting of a new electoral law, as is now occurring.
"We have discussed the recent ratification of the constitution, as well as concerns we have about aspects of the current constitution, including on issues of religious tolerance, women's rights, and the due process of justice for civilians. Here, too, any amendment of the constitution is up to the Egyptian people.
"We have discussed the ongoing trial of NGO workers, including Egyptian citizens, whose activities we do not believe should be a crime in any country. We hope this issue can be resolved favorably and put behind us quickly.
"We have discussed serious concerns we have about situation in the Sinai, and the need for the Egyptian government to do more to improve security there.
"Finally, in our meeting with President Morsi, we voiced our strong disapproval of statements he made a few years ago that have recently surfaced. We had a constructive discussion on this subject. We leave it to the President to make any further comments on this matter that he may wish."