Hoeven: Haag, American NGO Workers on their Way Back to U.S.

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today welcomed the Egyptian government’s decision to lift the travel ban on seven American non-governmental organization (NGO) workers who were detained in that country, including Fargo, North Dakota native Staci Haag. Hoeven met with Haag and the other American detainees last week in Cairo. The senator also met with Egyptian military and government leaders to encourage them to lift the travel ban, which had been imposed on the American NGO workers since late January. 

“The Egyptian government’s decision to lift travel restrictions on Staci and the other American NGO workers is good news, and we’re grateful that these citizens will now be able to return home,” said Hoeven. “Staci was doing well last week when we met at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, and we are certainly relieved that she and the other Americans are now on their way back to the United States.” 

Hoeven was in Egypt last week on a security mission with a bipartisan delegation of senators, including Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). They met with military and government leaders with regard to the status of the NGO workers, as well as broader relations between the two countries. Those meetings included Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling military council in charge of the government of Egypt, as well as members of parliament, including the speaker and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the largest party in the new Egyptian parliament. 

The senator has also been working with officials in the U.S. to ensure everything possible was being done to resolve the situation. Hoeven spoke yesterday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a Senate hearing to emphasize the need to do everything possible for the detainees and to offer his support. In early February, the Senator also met with Egyptian Ambassador Sameh Shoukry to seek help for Haag and the other American NGO employees.