U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement regarding the growing turmoil in Egypt and the future of the U.S.-Egypt bilateral relationship. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"The recent violence in Egypt and the return to a state of emergency is a stark reminder that the transition to a nascent democracy is not easy and is often precarious. However resorting to this level of violence by either side can permanently derail that process. The United States must take a firm stance and not dither in order to encourage both sides to get back on track toward democracy.
"I have been calling for the conditioning of our aid to Egypt since last Congress, having now twice introduced the Egypt Accountability and Democracy Promotion Act to do just that. American taxpayer dollars are not an entitlement for countries to do with as they please. This is the only leverage we have left over the Government of Egypt and the Egyptian military. By failing to act decisively before, during and after the Morsi era, we have lost nearly all credibility -- and therefore leverage -- in Egypt.
"The U.S. must act responsibly and prioritize our foreign policy objectives in Egypt and the region. We must condition all assistance to Egypt in an effort to persuade the interim Egyptian government to act responsibly, to return to the path of democracy and to protect the rights of all Egyptians.
Note: Last Congress, Chairman Ros-Lehtinen has introduced H.R. 6657 -- The Egypt Accountability and Democracy Promotion Act -- and reintroduced it earlier this year as H.R. 416. This bill conditions U.S. aid to Egypt upon certification that Egypt is not controlled by a foreign terrorist organization, transitions to a free-market democratic government, adopts and implements legal reforms that protect the rights of all citizens, fully implements the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, and destroys the smuggling network between Egypt and Gaza.