Human rights and civil liberties should not be approached from a "Western perspective," Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said on Wednesday, according to Ahram Online .
The comments were made during a meeting with United States' congressional representatives in Cairo. Sisi went on to tell the delegation that his government is committed to upholding the values of democracy and the rule of law.
Of course, not everyone was exactly pleased by the president's words...
Sisi's comments come during a national clampdown on journalists and the press by the Egyptian government. Police on Wednesday cordoned off the journalists' union in Cairo, limiting access to the premises following the arrest of two journalists earlier this week.
Protestors chanted "Journalism is not a crime!" and called for Interior Minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar to resign. Memos from the ministry were leaked on Tuesday, revealing that strategies had been outlined to check any controversy surrounding the recent arrests.
Human Rights Watch has previously accused Sisi's government of "flagrant abuse of human rights." Among HRW's list of abuses are "a lack of accountability for many killings of protesters by security forces, mass detentions, military trials of civilians, hundreds of death sentences, and the forced eviction of thousands of families in the Sinai Peninsula."
Last month, Sisi said that he understands concerns from many in the West over human rights issues in Egypt. However, he argued that Egypt faces a difficult reality with "persistent attempts from evil powers" to destabilize the country.
Sisi's meeting with the U.S. congressional delegation was mainly aimed at discussing civil conflicts throughout the region and his perspective that political solutions must be negotiated so that state institutions can remain intact.