US 'delighted' Egypt to allow international election monitors, but won't send own

US 'delighted' Egypt to allow international election monitors, but won't send own

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Tue, 15/05/2012 - 11:45

The US on Monday said it is “delighted” that Egypt will allow international monitors and local non-government observers to oversee its upcoming presidential election.

In a daily press briefing, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters the US is “delighted that Egypt is allowing international monitoring and Egyptian witnesses for the election. This is a very, very important step.”

In April, the Presidential Elections Commission announced Egypt was open to applications from international NGOs to monitor the election, slated for 23 and 24 May.

However, Nuland said the US would not take part in the monitoring process and does not intend to dispatch an official delegation to observe the vote.

A report asked Nuland why the US would not send an official delegation.

“Well, obviously our embassy will be there and will be taking a look-see on election day,” she responded. “But I think we considered that in this case, it’s best to have others do the witnessing.”

She said embassy staff can get a sense of how things go on election day, and that the US hopes for “a free, fair, transparent election in which as many Egyptians as possible participate.”

She said she has no knowledge of American NGOs’ participation in the monitoring process and emphasized that the US Embassy in Cairo will not take an active role in the contest.

Nuland said it is up to American NGOs to decide whether to observe the election and that the US State Department has no advice to give them in this regard.

Nuland said she was not aware of any US-funded NGOs coaching or training presidential contenders for presidential debates, adding that the US does not do that kind of work.