U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement today after meeting with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and other top officials today as part of a bipartisan Senate Armed Services Committee delegation trip to the country. The Senators' visit to Egypt assessed Egyptian policies in the wake of the Arab Spring, focusing on Egypt's commitment towards peace with Israel, the state of democratic institutions in Egypt, security in Sinai and the rights of Egyptian women.
"The incredible and historic change we have witnessed across the region over the last several years requires the United States to closely monitor this transition. I am pleased we had the opportunity to meet with a broad group of Egyptian leaders while here.
"Of primary interest to us is Egypt's relationship with our country, as well as Israel, and its role in ensuring regional stability and addressing terrorism.
"We have asked President Morsi and Defense Minister Elsisy to increase efforts to stop arms smuggling in the Sinai -- this is in Egypt's interest, as well as the broader region.
"We are very hopeful that Egypt navigates this tumultuous transition in a manner that includes all stakeholders so that Egypt's people flourish in a stable, democratic country.
"The reports that have recently come to light of President Morsi's offensive remarks towards Israel and the Jewish people are troublesome and deeply disturbing. I was very specific and direct with President Morsi deploring these comments, in addition to addressing Egypt's relationship with Israel and Egyptian women's rights. I will continue to follow these issues closely."
Senator Gillibrand joined fellow Senate Armed Service Committee members John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Christopher Coons (D-DE) and John Hoeven (R-ND) on the trip to Egypt.
In November 2010, Senator Gillibrand traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan with Senators McCain, Lieberman and Graham to meet with top U.S. military and civilian leaders, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistani military officials, and New York service members stationed in the region.