Monday, February 21, 2011

U.S. to New Egypt: Lift Emergency Law

The West began showing its love for the Egyptian Revolution today with a polite reminder from the U.S. that assistance comes with a price: Emergency law needs to be lifted and planning for elections must move forward.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns both touched down in Cairo for separate meetings with top officials, and offers to help with the transition to democracy (EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is also scheduled to arrive today in Egypt for consultations).

Burns, who is joined in Egypt by White House aide David Lipton, said their mission is to "understand better how we can connect our resources to Egypt's priorities and to be as helpful as we can in this process."

"Along the way, we'll continue to encourage concrete steps to build confidence and to sustain the momentum of the transition, ranging from the constitutional amendments that are being considered, through careful preparations for elections, to the further release of political detainees, to the lifting of the emergency law," Burns said in remarks after an initial meeting with Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa.

Cameron, the first world leader to visit post-Mubarak Egypt, met Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who heads the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which is running the provisional government. Cameron also had scheduled meetings with Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq and Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit.

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