TESTIMONY: Ambassador Mark Green Testifies to Congressional Committee on Egypt

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By Ambassador Mark Green | JUNE 15, 2016

On June 15, 2016, Ambassador Mark Green, co-chair of the Consensus for Development Reform, testified on Egypt before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. Ambassador Green emphasized that human rights and democratic norms in Egypt have continued to deteriorate despite the continuation of substantial U.S. funding. He made the following recommendations to address Egypt's "dangerous and uncertain trajectory":

First, a significant backlog of U.S. foreign assistance funds tied to Egypt exists, primarily due to Egyptian obstinacy. I have heard from knowledgeable stakeholders that Egypt’s refusal to permit U.S. programming in a wide variety of development sectors has caused a backlog of between $500 and $700 million in unspent or unobligated funds. In the current budget environment where resources are constrained, a significant portion of these funds can be better utilized elsewhere. In Tunisia, for example, significant democratic strides are being made and deserve additional support. This is especially true with respect to programs designed to build democratic institutions and deliver good governance.

Second, continued support for democratic development in Egypt is best accomplished through programs that engage democratic actors and build their skills to make notable contributions in a future democratic breakthrough. These efforts should be consistent with U.S. Law as stipulated in the Brownback Amendment and should be undertaken without pre-approval from the Egyptian government. Given the recent history, it is imperative that U.S. democracy assistance is not subject to an Egyptian government veto.

Finally, U.S. Administration officials, Members of Congress and their staff at every level should raise the “foreign funding” case 173/1000 in every engagement they have with Egyptian officials. These U.S. leaders should deliver a consistent message: insist that re-opening the case and expanding it to include other organizations is unconditionally and unreservedly unacceptable and must be stopped; and, insist that the only solution to the 2013 verdict that convicted 43 staff from international organizations is a full pardon by President Sisi. IRI has carefully examined the president’s legal authority to grant pardons and has determined under advisement from legal counsel that no constitutional or legal impediment exists to prevent Sisi from issuing full pardons to IRI and the other NGO staff.

Ambassador Green's full statement can be found here.

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