Egypt Makes Conciliatory Gesture toward U.S.


Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 13:22 PM EDT, 29 February 2012

Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, Egypts Interim Head of StateCAIRO, Egypt - Minutes ago Egyptian officials announced that they would lift the travel ban on 7 of the 16 Americans who have been accused of inciting violence among Egyptian protesters during recent rallies.

Since their detention, relations between the United States and Egypt continued to deteriorate. The one-time strong allies have suffered several crippling blows to their 30-year relationship.

First, was the loss of one of their staunchest ally in the region - President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted after 18 days of Arab Spring protests. The US' inability to successfully broker an Israel Palestinian peace accord, followed by this latest incarceration of American citizens has strained the relationship to breaking.

This latest fracas in which 16 Americans and 27 other people were put on trial for "illegally obtaining funds to foment unrest in Egypt and incite protesters against the nation's military rulers," was the third blow to an apparently foundering relationship.

Although, the trial of the 33 individuals began on 26 February 2012, it was subsequently adjourned until 26 April 2012. The US communicated through back channels that the continued detention of their citizens was unacceptable under any circumstances.

The lifting of the travel ban on the 7 remaining pro-democracy activists, signals an end to a politically charged incident, thus paving the way for the detained Americans to leave the country.  The other 9 were not in country and the 7 remaining NGO workers did not appear in court on Sunday.

This conciliatory gesture may have come as a result of threats to cut off much needed aid to Egypt from America.