US, Egyptian Military Chiefs Set for Talks

February 8, 2012  

The commander of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff is set to meet for talks with the head of Egypt’s ruling Supreme Military Council over Cairo’s travel ban on a group of American pro-democracy activists.

General Martin Dempsey is set to fly to Egypt this week for a “long planned” visit to meet with Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi as well as Dempsey’s counterpart, Lt.-Gen. Sami Anan, according to his spokesman, Colonel Dave Lapan.

At stake may be $1.3 billion in foreign aid to Cairo, as outraged American lawmakers closely monitor the unfolding events.

Congress members warned that any threat to American citizens could result in the loss of U.S. aid to Egypt, which receives one of the biggest packages of any foreign nation.

Staff members of the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, as well as others, were arrested and reportedly are to be put on trial on charges of working for illegal non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Included were 19 Americans, among them Sam LaHood, the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  A number of them have taken refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

The above-mentioned groups are funded by the United States government. They are among 17 groups that were raided in January, many of which were subsequently closed down after being accused of illegally meddling in the country’s political affairs.

Dozens of pro-democracy activists, among them 19 Americans, are allegedly to be tried on charges of illegally providing foreign aid to NGOs.

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