EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF CONGRESS WITH RESPECT TO THE 2005 ELECTIONS IN EGYPT -- (House of Representatives - December 18, 2005)
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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I rise in strong support of House Concurrent Resolution 284, as amended. Prior to this year's election in Egypt, that country's leader, Hosni Mubarak, promised to undertake a series of steps toward a slow but steady transition to a free and democratic society. However, in the wake of the parliamentary elections it is explicitly clear that those commitments remain unfulfilled.
This concurrent resolution, initially drafted amid an atmosphere of hope, had to be updated from the version passed by the House Committee on International Relations in order to reflect the grave developments that have taken place and to express congressional disappointment with the behavior of the Egyptian government and security forces during the parliamentary elections.
Election monitors complained that polling and counting stations were blocked and that wide-scale arrests were also used as a means of manipulating the electoral process. There were reports of excessive force by Egyptian security services resulting in the deaths of several demonstrators and the wounding of dozens more.
We must send a clear message to the Egyptian leadership that such behavior is unacceptable and that the concerns contained within this resolution need to be addressed if our bilateral relations are not to suffer.
The resolution before us therefore calls on the government of Egypt to take immediate steps to address the reported violations of fundamental freedoms of the Egyptian people and to hold those accountable for those actions and it urges the President to take into account what, if any, progress has been achieved by the Government of Egypt in meeting the goals outlined in this resolution when determining diplomatic engagement with and the type of level of assistance to the Government of Egypt.
This resolution is also forward looking, calling on the Government of Egypt to take a series of confidence-building measures in future elections.
Mr. Speaker, it is in the U.S. national security interest and in the interest of the Egyptian people for Egypt to be governed by a representative freely elected and legitimate national government. I ask my colleagues to render their full support to this measure.
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