Rohrabacher, Sanchez to Co-Chair Bipartisan House Egypt Caucus
WASHINGTON -- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and his Orange County, CA colleague Rep. Loretta Sanchez on Wednesday announced the formation of an Egypt Caucus to further relations between the United States and Egypt’s newly elected government of President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.
Al-Sisi, a general whose military earlier replaced the Islamist government of Mohammed Morsi, was resoundingly elected president of Egypt in May.
“Egypt has been a staunch U.S. ally in the battle against terrorist tyranny,” said Republican Rohrabacher. “The Egyptian people came close to being captured by a radical clique bent on ruling the country with the kind of fanaticism that has destroyed the freedom of so many Middle Eastern nations.”
Democrat Sanchez, who represents an adjoining district to Rohrabacher’s coastal California district, and who once lived in Egypt, said: “I decided to co-chair this caucus because I saw a significant need for more discussion and information about Egypt, one of our nation’s significant strategic partners. The purpose of this caucus is not to take any one side, but to promote dialogue and understanding within the House of Representatives and to engage in deeper discussion on issues and developments in Egypt. I hope this caucus will provide a bipartisan and open venue for Members to provide their perspectives.”
Rohrabacher, citing Egypt’s continuing clash with Islamist terrorists on the Sinai Peninsula, lamented that “American support has not matched the danger. For example, we have withheld spare parts, which have kept Egypt’s fleet of Apache attack helicopters on the ground for over a year.”
President al-Sisi’s human rights record, said Rohrabacher, will not escape scrutiny from the new caucus.
“I also want to make clear,” he said, “that we are not asking for Egypt to be given a blank check. We will stand with the new al-Sisi government as they continue to build a functioning state that reflects the rights of minority religious groups and allow for a free press. There is reason for hope that the case of imprisoned journalist Peter Grister, and the five other journalists, will soon be resolved and allowed to leave Egypt.”
Rohrabacher, who led a congressional delegation in January to meet with al-Sisi, stressed his vision of Egypt as a strategic bulwark against the Islamist terrorism now spreading through the Middle East.
“President al-Sisi and his government,” he said, “are a source of hope for the people of Egypt and the Middle East. Prosperity, democracy and human rights are not out of reach in Egypt. If this government succumbs to radical rule, it will be a profound blow to the people of Egypt and to all free people everywhere. We will stand or fall together.”