Two key senators said this week that “the US must help Egypt rebuild its economy in the wake of the revolution that swept through the country last month,” ABC News reports.
“I wouldn’t take our eye off Egypt,” Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, said at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “Egypt is the heart and soul of the Arab world and what happens in Egypt, I think, will be vital to what happens in the rest of the region.”
McCain recently traveled to Egypt and other nearby countries with Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-CT, who joined him at [the] event. Both senators said the US should take an active role in bringing economic assistance to Egypt.
“I think, two things, very quickly, one is, to assist with the mechanisms of a free and fair election, the voter education, the voter registration. A lot of that they’re very smart and doing themselves,” McCain said. “But the second and most important thing is job creation. This thing started with a young man in Tunisia who had a college degree who couldn’t get a license to sell vegetables, so he burned himself to death. He epitomized in many ways this educated class of young people who had no hope and no job opportunity. And I would say that it’s all kinds of assistance, but I would say that the thing they probably want more than anything else is investment, investment to create jobs.”
“I hope the high-tech community and friends of ours like John Chambers and Bill Gates and all of these people would come out and say, ‘Okay, we’re going to invest in Egypt. We’re going to help people create jobs and opportunity. I hope the administration would immediately say there will be a trade preference agreement with Egypt and long-term free-trade agreements with them so that we can help them in the most critical phase of any revolution, and that is economic development. And that, I think, is the key to it.”
The lawmakers “also suggested working with other countries on debt forgiveness for Egypt.”