Washington: The US on Friday expressed concern over the raids being conducted by Egyptian officials on a number of NGO's in the country, describing them being inconsistent with bilateral co-operation.

"Some of these are institutions that are supported by the US government; that work around the world in the interest of helping citizens realise their goals of democratic processes taking root in their country," State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland said.

"We call on the Egyptian government to immediately end the harassment of NGO staff, return all property and resolve this issue immediately," she said.

Top US officials including its Ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, is in close contact with the Egyptian officials in this regard, she said.

"The United States is deeply concerned that Egyptian judicial and police officials raided the offices of a number of nongovernmental organisations on Friday, including the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute.

This action is inconsistent with the bilateral cooperation we have had over many years," Nuland said.

"We don't think that this action is justified and we want to see the harassment end and we want to see the property returned and the staff allowed to proceed as normal," she added.

Nuland said these NGOs – which were raided by Egyptian officials – were there to support the democratic process.

"We have been very open and transparent with Egyptian authorities at all levels, particularly about the operating procedures and policies of NDI, IRI and other international – other NGOs that that we support.

So we are very concerned because this is not appropriate in the current environment," she said.

The two NGOs in question – NDI and IRI – are strongly supported with US government funds and their primary purpose is to support the development of democratic institutions.

They work most actively, both NDI and IRI, in countries that are in democratic transition.

"They do things like train poll monitors, train poll workers, train political parties in how to mount their campaigns. But they don't support any individual candidate, any individual party," she said.

"All of their work is open to public scrutiny and to government scrutiny. And we've been, particularly in the Egyptian case, they have been extremely transparent about the programs that they have in Egypt, about who's participating, et cetera," the US official said.

In another statement, Senator John McCain, said the raids on the offices of civil society and non-governmental organisations are unjustified.

"Numerous Egyptian citizens have been detained against their will, their rights violated, and their property confiscated.

These abuses, together with increasingly violent crackdowns on peaceful Egyptian demonstrators in recent weeks, are reminiscent of the practices of the Mubarak regime," he said.

"I call on Egypt's military leaders to allow non-governmental organisations in Egypt to operate freely and without restrictions, to safeguard the universal human rights of all Egyptians, and to enable the people of Egypt to realize their aspirations for a full transition to a civilian, democratic government through a fair, inclusive and transparent process," McCain said.

(Agencies)