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McCain, US senators meet with Egyptians on nation's future, accused NGO workers

Sen. John McCain and a delegation of US senators met in Egypt with the country's political and military leaders on Monday.

Mccain egypt 2012 20 02Enlarge
Sen. John McCain gestures while addressing a press conference in Cairo on February 20, 2012 together with Sen. John Hoeven, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Sen. Jeff Sessions. (MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

A delegation of US senators, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona, met in Egypt on Monday with the country's military and government leaders and discussed the nation's future and the case of 19 American workers who face charges as part of an Egyptian crackdown on non-governmental organizations, CNN reported.

The delegation also included Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota.

The visit is part of a preplanned trip, scheduled prior to the recent increase in tensions related to the non-governmental organizations.

At a press conference, McCain addressed the situation of the detained Americans but said he did not try to negotiate their release.

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“Our goal in coming here is not to attempt to negotiate this very important and delicate matter," McCain said. "We leave that to the Government of Egypt, the US Embassy, and the Embassies of other countries involved."

Instead, McCain said the group had traveled to meet with newly elected members of the Parliament, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces but that the "issue of the NGOs came up in all of our meetings."

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He said the group was confident there would be an acceptable resolution to the conflict.

"Ultimately, this matter of the NGOs is not about America... It is about Egypt," said McCain. "It is about Egyptian democratic and civil society groups, the inherent rights they possess, and whether those rights are respected and protected by the government."

More than 40 NGO workers, including 19 Americans, were recently referred to a Cairo court for their work with politically-minded organizations one Egyptian official said had tried to "hijack" the Egyptian revolution.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/egypt/120220/us-senators-meet-egypt-officials-over-accused-ngo-wor