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Cablegate: Charge Presses Reform with Egyptian Council For

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS CAIRO 004123

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM EG
SUBJECT: CHARGE PRESSES REFORM WITH EGYPTIAN COUNCIL FOR
FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Sensitive But Unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (U) Summary: Members of the American-Egyptian Relations
Committee of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs invited
the Charge to discuss the bilateral relationship during an
informal session on May 31. The event provided an
opportunity to stress the importance to the bilateral
relationship of free and fair elections, and to promote the
idea that international observers would increase confidence
in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.
End summary.

2. (U) The newly formed American-Egyptian Relations
Committee of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA)
invited the Charge to an informal session on May 31 to review
the bilateral relationship. The ECFA is a well-regarded
group of former diplomats, lawyers, development consultants,
and businesspeople. The Charge began by giving a brief
assessment of how U.S.-Egypt bilateral relations have changed
over the past three years, noting that, on the whole,
relations were better. He singled out the upcoming elections
as the most important factor affecting the future of the
relationship.

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3. (SBU) Most of the ensuing discussion focused on the May
25 referendum and the upcoming Egyptian elections. The ECFA
members characterized the constitutional change to allow
multiparty elections as a good initial step, though they
acknowledged that it came too late to allow for a serious
challenge to President Mubarak. The Charge noted that the
USG will follow closely how the election is conducted.
Responding to a question on what would constitute a free and
fair election, the Charge called for the absence of violence,
or coercion, equal access to media for the candidates,
freedom of association, and international observers.

4. (SBU) When asked what would happen to the bilateral
relationship if there were no observers and the elections
were not regarded as fair, the Charge noted that this outcome
would likely color how the U.S. deals with Egypt for years to
come. One member asked what the USG has done or could do to
help Egypt run a fair election. The Charge noted that the
USG has offered technical election assistance to the GOE, but
has not received a response or any specific requests for
assistance. However, he noted that the Embassy is
nonetheless moving forward with election-related activities
to be implemented by Egyptian and U.S. NGOs.

5. (SBU) Comment: While this group was openly supportive of
further reform and interested in preserving a strong
bilateral relationship, the members were very concerned about
the prospects for fair elections. The group seemed to be
searching for an assurance that no serious damage would come
to the bilateral relations even if the presidential and
parliamentary election processes were not free and fair.
They implied that the very introduction of a multi-candidate
election merited recognition and should satisfy the USG for
the time being. End comment.


Visit Embassy Cairo's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/cairo

You can also access this site through the
State Department's Classified SIPRNET website.

GRAY

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