Egypt hires $65k monthly US lobbying firm after Biden victory – Middle East Monitor13 Novembre 2020
The Egyptian government has hired a lobbying firm following the success of Joe Biden in the US elections, reports Foreign Lobby.
The $65,000 monthly contract was signed between the Egypt’s Ambassador to the US, Motaz Zahran, and Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. Under their agreement the firm will “provide government relations services and strategic consul on matters before the US government.”
“They are clearly worried,” said Michele Dunne, director of the Middle East programme at Carnegie.
“When it became clear that Biden would be named the winner, [Sisi] sent his congratulations and now you see all these former foreign ministers and major figures being called out onto the talk shows to reassure the government supporters in Egypt that everything’s going to be fine with Biden.”
Shortly after Biden was tipped to win, Egypt began releasing political prisoners in what experts said was related to growing calls on the Sisi government to abide by human rights and a predicted change in US policy towards Egypt.
In his now famous reference, Trump referred to Al-Sisi as his “favourite dictator”.
In October, 56 US congressmen wrote an open letter to Al-Sisi that stated human rights abuses in Egypt would not be tolerated if Joe Biden won the election and that he would not write Al-Sisi a blank cheque.
Shortly afterwards, 222 MEPs called on Egypt to release its political prisoners.
This is not the first time Egypt has hired firms to boost its image. In 2017 Egyptian intelligence hired two US public relations firms Weber Shandwick and Cassidy & Associates Inc. in Washington to lobby on the country’s behalf and improve its image.
The companies would assist Egypt in promoting strategic partnership with the US.
In 2019 Egypt hired an undisclosed US PR firm to counter negative press about the country and improve its image abroad in an attempt to whitewash its severe human rights abuses, rather than put an end to them.
The US sends roughly $1.3 billion worth of annual military aid a year to Egypt though there have been threats that Egypt must abide by human rights to continue to receive the funding. At the beginning of this year, the state department threatened to slash it following the death of an American citizen in jail.