Foreign Ministry criticizes US for hosting MB leaders

Foreign Minister Sameh Shokry said he finds US State Department justifications for hosting Muslim Brotherhood members hard to comprehend, the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper reported on Saturday.

In a US State Department press briefing, held on Thursday, spokesperson Jen Psaki said that Egyptian former parliamentarians, including members of the dissolved Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, were in the US on a visit funded and organized by Georgetown University and that the State Department met with them during their visit.

Psaki added that such visits are “fairly routine at the State Department, where we regularly meet with political party leaders from across the world.”

Shokry said, in statements to the media while taking part in the African summit in Ethiopia, that other countries should respect Egyptian law, which decreed the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. He said that the Egyptian administration doesn’t understand the US State Department communicating with “sides that are involved in terrorist acts in Egypt.”

Psaki clarified during the briefing that the meeting was attended by a deputy assistant secretary for democracy, human rights, and labor, and several other State Department officials. She said they did not address the deposed president’s removal from power.

“It wasn’t a discussion, a negotiation; it was a courtesy meeting,” she clarified.

Egypt-US relations have only recently improved, after sanctions imposed following the overthrow of Morsi were lifted. Relations between the long-time allies had been rocky for the past year and a half, as the US responded to the removal of Morsi with concerns that Egypt was deviating from a democratic path.

AD