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September 21, 2017

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Egypt's trial of US activists risks rupturing ties: senators

WASHINGTON -- A trio of leading U.S. senators on Tuesday warned Egypt that the risk of a "disastrous" rupture in ties had "rarely been greater" amid an escalating row over the planned trial of U.S. pro-democracy activists.

Republican senators John McCain and Kelly Ayotte, joined by independent Joe Lieberman, also warned that U.S. congressional "support for Egypt — including continued financial assistance — is in jeopardy."

"The current crisis with the Egyptian government has escalated to such a level that it now threatens our long-standing partnership," the three senators wrote in a joint statement.

"There are committed opponents of the United States and the U.S.-Egypt relationship within the government in Cairo who are exacerbating tensions and inflaming public opinion in order to advance a narrow political agenda."

"Congressional support for Egypt — including continued financial assistance — is in jeopardy. A rupture in relations would be disastrous, and the risks of such an outcome have rarely been greater," the senators added.

They called for a resolution of the crisis "that ends the harassment and prosecution of the employees of U.S. nongovernmental organizations operating in Egypt."

"Their property should also be returned and American and foreign personnel should be allowed to leave the country."

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