Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Uzra Zeya visited Egypt December 15-20 as the head of the United States delegation to the 10th Annual BMENA Forum for the Future, an international initiative designed to strengthen civil society-to-government engagement in the broader Middle East and North Africa region. The statement Ms. Zeya delivered at the meeting is available at http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/rm/2013/218858.htm.
In meetings with senior Egyptian officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Defense, as well as with civil society representatives, Acting Assistant Secretary Zeya expressed U.S. support for the Egyptian people and underscored the importance of a fully inclusive, credible, democratic transition to Egypt’s long-term political stability and economic growth. She condemned the use of excessive force by security forces and stressed the need for demonstrators to express themselves peacefully; expressed concerns about recent restrictions on freedom of association, assembly, and peaceful expression as well as politically motivated arrests and the particular need for protection of these rights as Egyptians proceed with the upcoming series of elections; and reiterated support for the rights of women and all religious groups. She also urged the government to hold to account, through due process and fair and transparent trials, all those found responsible for criminal acts of violence.
In all her meetings, Acting Assistant Secretary Zeya reaffirmed U.S. support for a sustainable democracy that meets the aspirations of the Egyptian people, and that the United States will continue to work with Egyptians to see their transition succeed.