US Cancels $130 Million Military Aid to Egypt Over Rights Issues | Human Rights News

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The decision to cancel the aid comes just days after the United States approved a massive $2.5 billion arms sale to the country.

The Biden administration announced it was canceling $130 million in military aid to Egypt on human rights grounds, just days after the United States approved a massive arms sale from $2.5 billion domestically.

The State Department said Friday that Egypt had not met the conditions to receive the $130 million in foreign military funding suspended since September. He said the money would be transferred to other programs, but did not elaborate.

In announcing the cancellation, the department made no mention of the $2.5 billion sale of military transport planes and radar systems it approved on Tuesday; the announcement of this agreement had made no mention of the frozen $130 million.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken in September approved the release of $300 million in foreign military funding to Egypt, but withheld an additional $130 million unless the government addressed “specific conditions related to rights rights” by the end of January.

“The deadline for fulfilling these conditions will soon pass,” the ministry said. “The [government of Egypt] made notable progress on the conditions, but to date has not met all of them. Therefore, after January 30, the Secretary intends to reprogram the $130 million to other national security priorities.

Asked about the apparent inconsistency, US officials said the military aid and arms sales were unrelated.

They say Egypt will bear the cost of the $2.2 billion purchase of the 12 C-130 Super Hercules transport planes as well as air defense radar systems worth an estimated $355 million.

Large-scale crackdown on dissent

Congressional Democrats who had urged Blinken not to approve the $130 million in aid were pleased with Friday’s decision but did not address the arms sale that dwarfs the amount of aid withheld.

“I’m glad the Biden administration held its own by reprogramming these funds,” said Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

“It sends the important message overseas that we will back our commitment to human rights with action and that the days of dictators receiving blank checks from America are over.”

On Tuesday, the State Department announced the $2.5 billion arms sale, saying it would “support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a great country. non-NATO ally which continues to be an important strategic point”. partner in the Middle East.

“We maintain that our bilateral relationship with Egypt will be stronger and that U.S. interests will be better served, thanks to the United States’ continued commitment to advancing our national security interests, including addressing our concerns in human rights,” the department said.

The Egyptian government has carried out a large-scale crackdown on dissent in recent years, jailing thousands of people, mostly Islamists but also secular activists involved in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that toppled the country’s longtime leader. , Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt imposed a state of emergency in April 2017, following deadly bombings on churches and attacks on Coptic Christians that left more than 100 people dead and dozens injured. It allowed arrests without warrants, rapid prosecution of suspects and the creation of special courts.

The state of emergency has since been extended several times. However, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced in October, when the last extension has expired, that his government will no longer renew it.

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