With Friends like This, (Egypt)?
Thwart is an emotion-laden word. Is it justified?
A U.S.-backed conference to promote Middle East democracy ended in chaos yesterday, with Egyptians leaving early after blocking Bush administration proposals to subsidize groups that promote political reform.
A draft declaration on democratic and economic principles that was to be released in a closing press conference was shelved instead because of Egyptian objections.
With U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice present, Egypt Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit left early.
“We didn’t withdraw” from the conference, Mr. Gheit said later. “What happened is that the meeting took so long, more than it was scheduled.”
Ok, they had discount airline tickets they had to get to – I’m not making fun here as I’ve come across this in the past – some countries encourage saving money by prebooking (most companies do too). I used to work with a foreign ministry with a set budget, an if we could help them save money, the bigger the party at the end of their fiscal year.
The U.S. State Department and others describe nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, as both humanitarian aid organizations, such as the Red Cross, and lesser-known advocacy groups that promote political reform.
Egypt wanted the statement to stipulate that those organizations be “legally registered” under each country’s laws. U.S. officials said the requirement would undermine the purpose of the statement.
OK, free speech is OK, so long as it isnÃ¢€™t from those that donÃ¢€™t disagree with us. Meanwhile, Egypt is one of the top foreign aid recipients from the USA.