Saturday, 1 October 2011

Egypt warns US of conditioning military aid on democracy

<p>US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks alongside Egypt's Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr during a joint press conference following meetings at the US State Department, Washington, September 28, 2011. </p>
Photographed by AFP
Egypt has warned the US not to pass a new Senate bill that aims to suspend military aid until Egypt certifies its full functions as a democracy, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

According to the report, 1.3 billion dollars in aid for 2012 will be suspended until Egypt holds democratic elections and guarantees civil liberties.
The Washington Post quoted an anonymous source who said that Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr asked US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other US officials to intervene.

According to the source, the US officials “know the value of the partnership between the United States and Egypt and how much such conditions and language would be detrimental to future cooperation.”

The US has been pressuring the Egyptian government, saying it hoped the emergency law - widely seen as a tool of repression under ousted President Hosni Mubarak - would be scrapped sooner than the military foresees next year.

The military council said on Tuesday that parliamentary elections would start in stages from 28 November, and invited candidates to start registering for the poll from 12 October.
Egypt has been the second-largest recipient of US aid since it signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, and the military assistance has been viewed as near-sacrosanct.

According to the Washington Post’s report, Clinton assured her Egyptian counterpart that the administration opposes the Senate conditions, which the Appropriations Committee approved this month.

“We will be working very hard . . . to convince the Congress that that is not the best approach to take,” Clinton said at a news conference Wednesday.

“We support the democratic transition, and we don’t want to do anything that in any way draws into question our relationship or our support,” she said.
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