Gamal Mubarak Goes to DC

Son of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is in_Washington:

While his father hosted U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Sharm el-Sheikh resort on the tip of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula earlier this week, Gamal Mubarak quietly slipped into Washington for a “private visit,” multiple sources have told Foreign Policy.

 The younger Mubarak, who is widely thought by Egypt hands to be positioning himself to succeed his father, prefers to keep a low profile on his trips to the United States. In comments paraphrased by Al-Masry al-Youm, an independent daily newspaper in Cairo, Gamal said he would “participate in seminars on the global financial crisis and its impact on Egypt and the region, and … meet with research centers and congressmen to know their vision regarding the Middle East and the future of the Egyptian-American relations.”

But according to one source familiar with Gamal’s visit, the unofficial purpose is likely to “take the temperature” in Washington ahead of his father’s rumored trip to D.C. later this spring. A spokesman for the Egyptian Embassy in Washington said he had no information to share about either visit….

Yesterday, the Center for Strategic and International Studies hosted Gamal for a small, off-the-record meeting. A Middle East expert who attended the gathering said he offered “nothing different” than he has in the past — anodyne comments about the “tremendous effort” Egypt is making in enacting economic and political reforms.

Today, Gamal is slated to meet with Sen. John Kerry, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Rep. Howard Berman, Kerry’s counterpart in the House, sources told The Cable. Committee spokespeople did not immediately respond to queries.

A Washington pro-democracy hand said Gamal’s trip has two purposes. First, trying to lobby Congress against any sort of conditionality or earmarking in appropriations of U.S. aid to Egypt. Second, he is also trying to feel out different audiences to get a sense of what kind of reception his father will receive when he comes next month. “This is the month where the Arab world sees what the Obama administration approach to human rights and democratic reform in the Middle East will be,” he said.  

Tomorrow, the younger Mubarak heads to New York for a small, invite-only meeting with members of the Council on Foreign Relations.

I wouldn’t read too much into the trip.  Gamal Mubarak is one of the most important politicians in Egypt so its only natural that he take a visit to Washington.

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