Remarks
Michael H. Posner
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Cairo, Egypt
January 26, 2012


Reuters Soundbites:

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ASSISTANT SECRETARY POSNER: "We are very mindful and appreciative of the attention that the Syria issue has gotten from the Arab League in recent weeks. We are desirous of working in partnership with them, and there is certainly a hope and expectation that we can proceed to the UN Security Council soon for the issue to be raised."

"There was an amendment to a recent appropriations bill in the Congress that requires the State Department to provide a certification to Congress on several aspects of the transition to democracy."

"The certification… we need to resolve that issue or certify before the foreign military assistance can be provided."

"The NGO issue is very much part of that package and, as you know, there has been considerable attention in the Congress to the restrictions on NGOs, so we are very much engaged in trying to encourage progress on that issue."

"We were encouraged by Field Marshall Tantawi's announcement on Tuesday that he had taken steps to lift the State of Emergency that has existed for several decades. Many Egyptians are continuing to urge a full lifting of the Emergency Law, a view we share."

AP Soundbites:

"We are greatly concerned that organizations like IRI (International Republican Institute) and like NDI (National Democratic Institute) and Freedom House, which have long worked in this country and around the world, ought to be able to operate as they do in many places in the world."

"I very much view the situation of the four American organisations as part of the broader discussion about the role of NGO's (Non-Governmental Organizations) in this society. There are international NGO's like those four and there are local Egyptian organizations. All need to have the ability to operate openly, freely without constrain on the basis of the content of their work."

"We very much hope given the tragedy in Syria, the fact that so many innocent people have been and continue to be gunned down and killed, that the international community can come together to take the next steps that will allow a return to a more peaceful situation and that Assad (President Bashar Assad), as we have said repeatedly, must go."

[This is a mobile copy of Remarks in Cairo, Egypt]