US: State Dept. blasts Arab allies rights records

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March 9, 2006 03:53

 
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The State Department called the human rights records of key Arab allies poor or problematic on Wednesday, citing flawed elections and torture of prisoners in Egypt, beatings, arbitrary arrests and a lack of religious freedom in Saudi Arabia, and flogging as punishment for adultery or drug abuse in the United Arab Emirates. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited all three last month and called each a strategic partner or stalwart ally that wields regional influence or helps in such areas as anti-terror investigations. The relationship between the United States and the UAE is at the center of a political fracas over a Dubai company's plans to take over operations at several US ports. On Iraq, the report said the government's performance was handicapped by insurgency and terrorism that has an impact on every aspect of life.

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