US renews deep concern over Egypt NGO raids

December 30, 2011 - 5:15 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is stepping up pressure on Egypt to end raids and harassment on non-governmental pro-democracy groups.

The Pentagon and State Department said Friday that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson had spoken with senior Egyptian officials to underscore Washington's concern about the raids on the organizations, including three groups funded by Washington.

The Pentagon says Panetta spoke by phone to the head of the ruling military council, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, to emphasize the importance the administration places on Egypt's democratic transition and the ability of non-governmental organizations to work. According to the State Department, Egyptian authorities told Patterson in Cairo that the raids would stop and seized property would be returned to the groups.