Egypt: Rights groups say excluded from EU talks

AP News
Posted: Nov 13, 2012 12:21 PM

CAIRO (AP) — More than 20 Egyptian human rights groups say authorities excluded them at the last minute from a meeting with a visiting European Union delegation aimed at boosting ties with the 27-nation bloc.

The rights groups say that after initially being invited to a meeting Tuesday with the EU, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry abruptly withdrew the invitation. Organizations focusing on poverty reduction and charity still took part in the talks.

The rights groups said in a statement the decision to exclude them reflects the current government's shunning of human rights — a continuation of the policy of the ousted regime of Hosni Mubarak and the country's transitional military rulers.

The Egyptian official chairing the meeting said Cairo wants to focus on fighting poverty, not building democracy and human rights.