U.S.-Egyptian relations are getting frosty (again)

As al Jazeera reports, the Egyptian government has refused requests from eight U.S.-based charitable organizations that sought to operate in that country.

The Egyptian decision came on the same day that Interpol’s headquarters in France refused a request by Egypt to issue worldwide arrest warrants for 15 employees of a number of US-based non-governmental organisations that operate in Egypt.

Interpol’s statement said the request for arrest warrants for the 15, of whom 12 were Americans, was not in line with its rules that forbid “political, military, religious or racial” interventions.

Under [former President Hosni] Mubarak, foreign-funded democracy and human rights groups were allowed to operate in Egypt but were kept in legal limbo by the government, which repeatedly turned down their applications for licences.

Under the military rulers who took over after Mubarak fell a year ago, Egyptian authorities have pursued an even tougher line, raiding NGOs’ offices and pressing criminal charges against a number of Egyptian and foreign NGOs.

The BBC adds the decision comes as Egypt moves toward an important political event.

The Egyptian government has refused to license eight US civil society groups, including the election-monitoring Carter Centre, MENA the state news media reported.

The crackdown on foreign non-governmental organizations working in Egypt comes a month before presidential polls.

MENA said the Insurance and Social Affairs Ministry rejected the applications because their activities violated “the state’s sovereignty on its lands”.

The eight NGOs include the Carter Center, Seeds of Peace, Coptic Orphans, the Latter-day Saints Association and others.

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