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Egyptians Block U.S. Groups on Sovereignty Concern, MENA Reports

Egypt has refused to authorize permits for eight U.S. non-governmental organizations, including the Carter Center, saying their work runs counter to the country’s sovereign interests, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported.

The organizations carry out their missions in a manner that “contradicts Egypt’s sovereignty,” the Cairo-based agency reported, quoting an unidentified official in the country’s Ministry of Social Affairs. The official said that while Egypt didn’t object to the groups’ stated goals, it disliked the way these were implemented.

The decision follows a dispute with the U.S. following Egypt’s decision to bar several American NGO workers, including the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, from leaving the country. The Americans were part of a group of 43 people working for five different groups whose offices were raided and a criminal case launched on the grounds that they were operating illegally in the country. Two have links to the two main U.S. political parties.

The U.S. and other foreign nationals were eventually allowed to leave the country after paying what amounted to bail of about $5 million. The dispute prompted a backlash in the U.S., and raised doubts at the time about whether Egypt would be given more than $1 billion in annual military aid.

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