House Panel to Hold Two-Day Hearing on Egypt & Lebanon Next Week

By John R Parkinson

Feb 2, 2011 9:03pm

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports: 

House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced Wednesday night that next week the panel will hold a two-day hearing on the continuing crisis in Egypt and also the lesser publicized trouble in Lebanon after Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government was replaced by a new Hezbollah-controlled coalition.

On Day One – next Wednesday, February 9 – the committee will hear testimony on the implications for U.S. Policy and Allies in the Broader Middle East from Elliott Abrams, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and Lorne Craner, president of the International Republican Institute. 

On Day Two – next Thursday, February 10 – the committee will hear testimony from James B. Steinberg, Deputy Secretary of State and has invited Michèle Flournoy, Under Secretary for Policy at the Department of Defense to testify as well. 

Additional witnesses could be added to the panels.

After Hosni Mubarak announced he would not seek reelection in Egypt’s elections next September, Ros-Lehtinen expressed her dissatisfaction Tuesday that Mubarak would stay in power through the vote

“Continuing with the existing timeline for elections is not going to help stabilize the situation in Egypt. It will only embolden the extremist elements and frustrate the Egyptian people, who seek peaceful, legitimate, democratic change,” Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said in a statement. “Far-off promises of change won’t cut it after decades of waiting for political and economic reforms. The Egyptian people are demanding a government that will take concrete actions to meet their legitimate aspirations for democracy, human rights, and freedom.” 

Ros-Lehtinen also called on Mubarak to schedule “legitimate, democratic, internationally-recognized elections in the near future, not eight months from now.” 

“Opposition leaders must categorically reject the involvement of extremist elements who are trying to use this crisis to gain power, hijack Egypt’s future, and seriously damage Egypt’s relationship with the United States, Israel, and others,” she added.

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