Egyptian authorities denied entry to a top American researcher, after she arrived at Cairo International Airport on Friday, according to a state news agency MENA report. The Egyptians are saying Michele Dunne, an “American activist, ” was refused entry for security reasons.
Dunne, a senior associate in the Middle East Program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a former State Department diplomat, came to Cairo from Istanbul Friday and flew to Frankfurt shortly after she was denied entry to Egypt.
Dunne’s research focuses on political and economic change in Egypt.
Dunne tweeted that she had come to Egypt by the invitation of a “pro-government group, ” in order to attend a conference, referring to the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs.
In a phone interview with satellite channel Al-Hayat 2, the executive manager of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs Ameen Shalabi said Dunne was invited on the principle that it is important to have a dialogue with those “who don’t understand Egyptian conditions.”
According to Al Ahram, Dunne has been critical of the ouster of president Mohamed Mursi in 2013 and subsequent political developments in Egypt.
Shalabi added that Dunne was invited to listen to the objective opinions of numerous Egyptian experts, and suggested the refusal to allow her entry—especially since she was the only critical researcher out of 20 invited to the conference—would only make her more aggressive in her criticisms of post-Mursi Egypt.
“Egypt is in, I believe, a very prolonged process of change and we really don’t know how things are going to come out, ” Michele Dunne says in thefollowing recording done at the Council on Foreign Relations’ roundtable discussion on Egypt’s transition. Restoring the kind of stability that would allow the government to make clear economic decisions, according to Dunne, would require a government that has a lot more consensus. In order to revive the economy and bring back investment, Dunne said Egypt will need greater stability.
Egypt’s security services were never reformed since Mubarak left, Dunne argued, and have been re-empowered to carry out abuses. She suggested President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will not lead to stabilization, noting that the current crackdown will engender more violence and demonstrations, as the country lurches from crisis to crisis, economic and political.