Only one day after he publicly highlighted the case of unjustly imprisoned human rights lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer on 12 April, Antony Blinken welcomed Sameh Shoukry, describing the U.S.-Egypt relations as “strategic partnership”.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken publicly highlighted the case of unjustly imprisoned human rights lawyer Mohamed El-Baqer Tuesday before welcoming Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry Wednesday to tout the U.S.-Egypt “strategic partnership.”
While commenting on the release of the State Department’s 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices yesterday, Blinken cited El-Baqer as an example of one of the far too many political prisoners held around the world.
The new country report on Egypt, meanwhile, makes clear that the regime’s human rights record remains horrific.
Yet the very next day, Blinken hosted his Egyptian counterpart and, during the pre-meeting presser, praised Egypt’s government for “[being] at the heart of stability in the region, working for peace, working for security, and doing so in strategic partnership with the United States, something that we deeply value and deeply appreciate.”
The post-meeting readout said that the secretary “reaffirmed the importance of human rights in our bilateral relationships with all partners, including Egypt, and encouraged progress on protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met today with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Washington, D.C. Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Shoukry discussed the strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt, noting that 2022 marks 100 years of bilateral diplomatic relations.
According tp Price, the ministers discussed efforts in key areas such as regional stability and security cooperation, as well as the next steps to build off the successful Negev Ministerial.
“The Secretary and Foreign Minister also discussed global developments, including Russia’s attack on Ukraine and its mounting global consequences, including rising food insecurity,” Ned Price said, adding “Additionally, Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Shoukry noted support for Libya’s UN-facilitated political process leading to elections.”
According to Price, the US Secretary reaffirmed the importance of human rights in our bilateral relationships with all partners, including Egypt, and encouraged progress on protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Eamon Gilmore in Cairo
As evidence of horrific human rights violations continues to come out of Egypt at an alarming rate, EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore began a three-day trip to Cairo on April 11.
Mahienour El-Massry, a human rights lawyer and former detainee, wrote to Gilmore, “What a great time for a visit, while the body of the researcher Ayman Hadhoud is awaiting an autopsy after he was forcibly disappeared. . . . I don’t think the government will mention that to you.” She also pointed to activist Alaa Abdel Fattah’s continuing hunger strike against his prison conditions.
On the same day, a judge in Rome was again forced to suspend the trial in absentia of four Egyptian security officers for the 2017 abduction, torture, and murder of PhD student Giulio Regeni over “the Egyptian authorities’ refusal to cooperate” in locating the defendants. The judge ordered Italian law enforcement to again try to track down the four, setting the next hearing in the case for October 10.