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Cablegate: Iri Garnering Attention From Ruling Party and Press

VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #3420 3401346
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 061346Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7656
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS CAIRO 003420

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA AND DRL/NESCA
NSC FOR PASCUAL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM KDEM EG
SUBJECT: IRI GARNERING ATTENTION FROM RULING PARTY AND PRESS

REF: CAIRO 3343

Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) Over the past week the activities of the
International Republican Institute (IRI) have garnered an
unusual amount of attention, following on the heels of the
Deputy Foreign Minister's November 21 complaint to us about
IRI (reftel). In a clear signal of the GOE's mounting
displeasure with IRI, on December 2, Safwat el Sherif,
secretary-general of the National Democratic Party (NDP),

SIPDIS
issued a press statement noting that the ruling party's
secretariat had "examined the secretary-general's report on

SIPDIS
the organization of training sessions for Egyptian party
members by some foreign partisan organizations and agencies
as well as extending personal invitations to members of the
NDP. The secretariat considered this an improper and
rejectionable act that serves as a cover-up for interference
in the affairs of local parties, and propaganda for foreign
agendas with the aim of interfering and steering political
action in the service of foreign states." The statement
continues, "This circumvention aims at interfering in
domestic affairs and influencing the national sense of
belonging. The NDP secretariat has rejected invitations to
party members by a foreign institute to attend a training
session in an Arab country." (Note: The "training sessions"
noted are an apparent reference to recent training classes of
Egyptians that IRI has organized in Jordan and Morocco. End
note). Sherif's remarks were reported by the government news
agency, and in a variety of other press outlets.

2. (SBU) On December 5, the sensationalist independent daily
newspaper Al Dustour carried an article with the headline,
"American Institute to Continue its Activity Training
Opposition Cadres, Despite NDP Criticism." The article,
sourced to the unreliable and provocative "America in Arabic"
internet wire service, states that, "an American institute
close to the Republican party to which U.S. president George
W. Bush belongs, announced that it intends to strongly
continue its activity in Egypt despite criticisms of the
institute by leading figures in the ruling party, due to its
invitations to Egyptian parties and civil society activists
in Egypt to attend courses on political work." The article
quotes in part from IRI's 2006 annual report, issued on
November 29, noting that despite Sherif's complaint, "the
USAID-funded IRI insists on 'boosting democracy in Egypt'."
(Note: The actual language from IRI's 2006 annual report
reads, "Despite restrictions on programmatic activity imposed
by the Egyptian government, IRI continues to provide support
and technical assistance to activists in non-governmental
organizations and political parties." End note).
RICCIARDONE

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