Brotherhood figure meets US officials at US ambassador’s residence

Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau member Abdel Rahman al-Barr on Tuesday met with Assistant US Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights Michael Posner and US Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson at the embassy’s headquarters in Cairo.

“The Egyptian people consider America’s claims that it respects democracy and freedom as mere words,” Barr said during the meeting, according to a statement on the group’s website.

“US President Obama's promises, made during his visit to Egypt, have not been fulfilled, and Egyptians want to see more concrete steps in this regard,” the statement added.

Obama visited Egypt in June 2009. He gave a speech from Cairo University addressing the Muslim world with the name “A New Beginning.”

“I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles — principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings,” Obama said in his speech.

Brotherhood statement said: “The discriminatory policies adopted by the US administration toward Muslims make them doubt the seriousness of US intentions with regard to democracy promotion. We had a revolution for change, and US policy should change, too.”

“We have a parliament for the first time that represents the people and not the regime,” he added. “And religion is a key component in the hearts of the people, who will stand by their Parliament.”

Barr also said he inquired whether the US embassy is aware of how money the US gave to Egypt's human rights organizations was spent.

Last month, Egyptian authorities raided the offices of several non-governmental organizations, including international NGOs, alleged to be receiving foreign funding illegally.

Two US-based rights groups — the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) — were targeted in the operation.

Law 84/2002 requires NGOs to get approval from the Ministry of Social Solidarity before they can receive foreign funds. The government said that these NGOs accepted foreign money without informing the authorities.

Patterson said that the National Democratic Institute, which is led by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, has a complex accounting system, but she knows most of the money is spent on training and political activities. She said that she "is committed to pursuing the matter thoroughly," and to the protection of rights and freedoms.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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