Fri. Sep 29th, 2023

The Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, visited Cairo on Monday with a strong message regarding human rights. During his visit, Blinken emphasized the importance of freeing political prisoners and guaranteeing freedom of expression in Egypt. The visit is part of a three-day regional tour that coincides with escalating violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

Blinken aims to strengthen the strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt, a major recipient of U.S. military aid that has played a crucial role in mediating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the past. However, since the 2013 ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected president, the country has been in the midst of a long crackdown on political dissent, which has led to the detention of thousands of political activists, both liberal and Islamist.

While Egypt has released some political prisoners in recent months in an effort to address international criticism, many remain behind bars, and new arrests have been made. The United States has held back small amounts of military aid to Cairo due to its failure to meet human rights conditions, and advocacy groups have called for further action.

During his visit, Blinken met with a group of activists, including prominent campaigner Hossam Bahgat, and discussed human rights issues with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Sisi has defended the security measures that have been implemented over the past decade, stating that they were necessary to stabilize the country and that authorities are working to protect rights and provide basic needs like housing and jobs.

In addition to human rights, Blinken’s meeting with Sisi addressed regional issues such as the relaunch of a political transition in Sudan and breaking the deadlock between rival factions in Libya. The visit is an opportunity for the United States to send a strong message on the importance of human rights in the region and to hold Egypt accountable for its actions.

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