Markey, Pelosi, Congressional Delegation Remarks at Press Conference in Egypt
Cairo, Egypt – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is leading a Congressional delegation to Egypt with Congressman George Miller of California, Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Congressman Nick Rahall of West Virginia, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York, and Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota. Following their meeting with People’s Assembly Speaker Mohamed Sa’ad Al-Katatny, the Members of Congress held a press conference. Below are Leader Pelosi’s opening and closing remarks, as well as the opening remarks from each member of the Congressional delegation.
Leader Pelosi’s Opening Remarks:
“Good Afternoon. It is with great pride that we stand before you after a day of hearing from the representatives of the people of Egypt. We had a very productive day that included meetings that we just left with the Speaker of the Assembly and representatives of different parties and chairmen of different committees. We had a building of understanding of each other’s challenges in our own country and a fuller appreciation of the transition.
“Earlier in the day we had met with Field Marshal Tantawi and that was a very constructive meeting as well.
“My colleagues who are here will introduce themselves and speak to a special moment for them in the course of the day.
“We started the day with the officials, meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister, and that was again a very constructive meeting. Our purpose in coming was to express our appreciation to the people of Egypt for their elections, and for the work that they are all doing in the transition and to reaffirm the friendship between our two countries as an expression of security for both of us and to find ways to build a stronger Egypt - U.S. relationship.
“I will yield to my colleague Keith Ellison of Minnesota. We are always proud when he visits this region as the first Muslim ever elected to the Congress of the United States.”
Congressman Markey’s Opening Remarks:
“I am Congressman Ed Markey from the state of Massachusetts. It has been an extremely exciting day for us. We realize that we are eyewitnesses to history. Back in 1787 a new government, a new way of empowering people was invented for all the American people, at a constitutional convention. We know that we are here at a time when Egypt has destroyed the old but it is in the process of inventing the new. A new constitution and new president, a new assembly and we can feel the excitement and we can feel the energy, we can feel the unleashing of all this incredible potential in this great country of Egypt. We are looking forward to the years ahead to partnering with Egypt as they unleash this unlimited potential that has been bottled up for too long and we are looking to be partners for generations to come with your great country.”
Congressman Ellison’s Opening Remarks:
“Thank you. Let me thank you all for coming here. I think a key ingredient to a democratic society is a strong, vibrant press, so thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the press for being here. It is clear that you are doing your job. One of the big points for me in the course of the day was to listen to members of the Egyptian Parliament’s ideas about putting Egyptians back to work. I know that the price of the revolution and freedom can be quite high and a number of Egyptians have been out of work and the economy has taken a hit, yet it was good to hear members of the Egyptian Parliament talk about constructive ideas on how that might be improved and how we might work together as nations to improve the situation. Thank you.”
Congressman Rahall’s Opening Remarks:
“I am Representative Nick Rahall of West Virginia, and of Lebanese background. This was a very positive and constructive day for the relationship between Egypt and the United States of America. Beside the meetings that Leader Pelosi mentioned, we also had the opportunity to be briefed by our Embassy personnel and we also congratulated Field Marshal Tantawi on the very successful, transparent and free elections that were conducted for the parliament. And speaking with the Speaker of your Parliament, we congratulated him and the members of the Parliament in the matter in which they conducted the elections as well. So our relationship will grow stronger and this has been a very productive day for both of our countries.”
Congresswoman Maloney’s Opening Remarks:
“Good Afternoon, Thank you for being here.
“I am Congresswomen Carolyn Maloney from New York. Anyone here from New York? There are a lot of Egyptians in New York. It was a very inspiring, really uplifting day for me. The whole world is watching Egypt, is hopeful, and it was really important for us to meet so many important leaders in your great country. Egypt has always been a very important and strategic ally to the United States, and I know that we will continue our friendship and our work together to help the people of Egypt and the people of America.”
Congressman Miller’s Opening Remarks:
“I am Congressman George Miller from California, and our meetings today reminded us what a remarkable year it has been for the Egyptian people and the future of this country. Our last meeting with the members of Parliament and the Speaker reminds us what an awesome responsibility and obligation they have as they contemplate the process of writing the constitution for this country and who will be involved and their recognition of the diversity that must be represented in that process of writing the constitution so that it serves all the people of Egypt. Not just one social strata or another but all the people of Egypt and protects all of the rights of all the people of Egypt.
“I was really quite taken with the sense of responsibility that they have about that duty and how frank they were about how inclusive they wanted that process to be. So it was quite a rewarding day for those of us who serve in an parliament that is very old, very open in many, many ways, to then see this young parliament think about that same very solemn process of writing the constitution for a huge and important and diverse nation like Egypt.”
Leader Pelosi’s Closing Statement:
“I would like to say that in the last meeting the dynamic and enthusiasm that you hear from my colleagues is a reflection of all the meetings we had today. The most recent one that just ended, on one side of the table you had American legislators and among us around 150 years in the Congress of the United States and across the table just a matter of months for each of the legislators who were there. To see them experience what our founders experienced being in the process of forming a committee to write a constitution, to shape a government, to meet the needs of the people, it was pretty exciting indeed. The vitality, the clear indication that they view the Assembly as we do our Congress, as a marketplace of ideas where the competition for ideas is a lively one, is invigorating to us who have been in Congress a long time, watching people who are new to it, be pioneers in this great old country, an ancient civilization but a fresh new democracy, in fact the largest Arab democracy in the world.”
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