Dempsey to visit Egypt amid NGO tensions

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will meet with military leaders as 19 Americans face prosecution.

February 9, 2012 10:40
1 minute read.
US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey

US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey_311. (photo credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)


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US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey is scheduled to visit Egypt this week, AFP reported Wednesday.

According to the report, the visit was planned ahead of time, and includes meetings with  Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the general running the country, and Dempsey's counterpart Lieutenant General Sami Enan.

"With the Egyptians, Gen. Dempsey will discuss common interests, choices and consequences," Dempsey's spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan told AFP in an email.

The episode comes amid rising tension between the United States and Egypt over the prosecution of NGO workers in Egypt, including 19 Americans.

Egypt said on Wednesday it would not be swayed by threats to aid when probing NGOs over charges they received foreign cash without official approval, a case that has led Washington to warn that $1.3 billion a year of military aid may be at risk.

A total of 43 foreign and local activists have been banned from leaving Egypt and their cases have been referred to a criminal court. Egypt said top US army officials would visit Cairo soon in an attempt to resolve the impasse.

In Washington, the US State Department said it had received a "formal charging document of foreign-funded pro-democracy groups and non-governmental organizations.

The United States wants Egypt to drop travel bans on at least 19 US citizens involved in the case, but the Egyptian government says it cannot intervene in the probe. It has given no details of who has been charged with what, saying it was still working through the more than 100-page Arabic document.

"Egypt will apply the law ... in the case of NGOs and will not back down because of aid or other reasons," army-appointed Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri told a news conference.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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