Foreign ministry says barred US scholar lacked proper visa
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry - AP/Amr Nabil

CAIRO: Michele Dunne was refused entry to Egypt after she failed to obtain the necessary business visa, the Foreign Ministry stated Sunday night.

Dunne, an American scholar with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who has made comments critical to the ruling government, had been invited by the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs to attend a conference this week, but was denied entry at the airport Dec. 12.

The day after she was barred, she told the New York Times in a phone interview that the security officer had told her “No reason, but, Madame, you cannot access Egypt any more.”

“Dunne visited the Egyptian embassy in Washington a few times, applying to get a visa not for the purpose of tourism, …but she pulled her passport suddenly without finishing the papers and decided to head to Egypt,” the ministry stated Sunday.

Dunne wrote later Sunday on her Twitter account that “U.S. citizens are allowed to obtain a visa at the airport for business as well as tourism in Egypt. I checked ‘conference’ on the entry form.”

The director of the passports department at the Cairo Airport Magdy Al-Seman told The Cairo Post that anyone may obtain a “temporary visa” at the airport; however the state still has sovereignty to deny or approve any application at its discretion.

He added that for a business visa, the traveler should be in possession of an inviation letter.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace condemned Saturday the Egyptian authorities’ decision to deny Dunne entry. Carnegie President Jessica T. Mathews said, “Michele Dunne is a scholar of unimpeachable integrity who has devoted her professional life to analyzing Egyptian politics and improving U.S.-Egyptian relations. She is enormously respected throughout the Middle East, as well as in the United States and Europe, for the rigor and fairness of her work.”

Marwan Muasher, vice president for studies for Carnegie’s Middle East Program, added that they “are deeply disappointed by the Egyptian government’s action.”

The endowment added in a statement that this is the first for a scholar working for them was denied entry into Egypt.

“Some Egyptians complain I don’t list enough to pro govt views. When I accept invite to conf of pro govt group they deny me entry. Go figure,” Dunne tweeted Dec.13.

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