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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (1st District of Nebraska)

Apr 30, 2020

In The News

Egypt’s national news recently featured a video of U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) that highlights the Hall County town of Cairo.

The video, posted on YouTube, gives thanks to Egypt and President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi after the donation to the U.S. of personal protective equipment to combat the coronavirus.

The several planeloads of equipment were received at Joint Base Andrews in Washington, D.C., on April 21.

The video, posted April 23, features an image of the town sign of Nebraska’s Cairo, located 16 miles northwest of Grand Island.

“The Egyptian government did a very noble thing in solidarity and friendship with America. They are our forgotten friend, and I wanted to acknowledge that publicly,” Fortenberry said. “I got to show Cairo’s sign and show it to the Egyptian people as our sign of solidarity and friendship.”

Such equipment is needed

“The coronavirus has caused such trauma and suffering throughout society,” Fortenberry said. “We’re somewhat fortunate in Nebraska in that we’ve been spared the larger onslaught of the disease, but, of course, we have particular areas like Grand Island, where they’re experiencing it in a deeper way.”

He added, “It’s not exactly clear to me how the Egyptian government decided to donate the supplies, but I was very pleased with that.”

Fortenberry is founder and co-chair of the Egypt Caucus of the U.S. Congress.

“That might seem peculiar, being from Nebraska, but when I was younger I spent some time in Egypt,” he said. “In fact, it was in 1979 during the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace accord. It was an incredible time to be there.”

He was contacted by the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Jonathan Cohen, and asked to be a part of the reception at JBA, but was unable to attend due to distance and shifting schedules.

To show his appreciation, Fortenberry posted the video to YouTube.

The video was then shown on Egypt’s CBC Extra News and other networks.

“I’ve been on Egyptian national TV before, so I have a little bit of a dynamic there,” Fortenberry said, “but the reality of that speaks to the heartfelt desire of the Egyptian people to be in deep friendship with us, that they would prioritize us on their news.”

The donation of protective equipment is symbolic of Egypt’s desire to “enhance and regenerate this very important friendship,” Fortenberry said.

“It’s not a perfect relationship. There are lots of problems,” he said. “But when you have people, a country that struggles with its own economy, sending us sacrificially their own equipment when they’re dealing the disease, too, that is a marked sign of the depth of their solidarity.”

Fortenberry is not surprised by the country’s generosity.

“I think it’s a very warm extension of the hand of friendship between our two countries,” he said. “I’m glad they did it.”