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August 24, 2017 10:58 am

Egypt Releases Angry Statement in Response to US Aid Cut Over Human Rights Concerns

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Cairo, Egypt. Photo: Flyvancity via Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – Egypt lashed out at the decision by the Trump administration to cut nearly $100 million in military and economic aid, while suspending some $200 million more in financing over human rights concerns.

In a statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said it regretted the US decision, calling it a “misjudgment of the nature of the strategic relations that have bound the two countries for decades.”

The statement added that the move “reflects a lack of careful understanding of the importance of supporting the stability and success of Egypt, as well as the size and nature of the security and economic challenges faced by the Egyptian people.”

Further, Egypt waned that the cuts may have “negative consequences for the realization of common US-Egyptian interests.”

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced Tuesday to withhold $65.7 million in military assistance and $30 million in economic aid pending human rights improvements and actions to ease harsh restrictions on civic and other NGOs in Egypt. Following Tillerson’s decision, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser Jared Kushner met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo as part of a Mideast tour to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Egypt is the second largest recipient of US military and economic aid, receiving some $1.5 billion annual, with $1.3 billion going to military aid and $250 million in economic aid linked to the 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

Earlier this year, Egyptian President El-Sisi visited with the White House where he was warmly welcomed by Trump. During the visit, which largely focused on combatting terrorism and other security and regional issues, Trump made no mention of human rights abuses in Egypt, which had been a common theme under former President Barack Obama.

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