US halts aid to Egypt in protest to human rights policies
The US government will not grant any additional foreign aid to long-term ally Egypt in protest to the Republic’s prosecution of Egyptian-American human rights activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim and its lack of regard for pro-democracy organizations, reported The Washington Post.
Egyptian authorities accused Ibrahim, a university professor carrying both Egyptian and American passports of misappropriating funds, defiling Egypt's image and receiving foreign funds without permission. Observers from foreign governments and human rights organizations considered the charges politically motivated.
US President Bush will soon inform Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak of his administration’s decision in writing. However, his letter will be only symbolic in value for the time being since existing US aid programs to the North African state will not be affected. Egypt will continue to receive its annual allocation of nearly two billion dollars in assistance.
The Mubarak government began pushing for an extra $130 million after the US House of Representatives passed a $200 million aid package intended to help Israel in its fight against suicide bombers last month. The Egyptians made reference to a passage in 1978’s Camp David peace accords, insisting that they too merited additional financing.
Israel lost its chance at extra financing this week when Bush rejected the $5.1 billion counter-terrorism bill that was inclusive of the $200 million. However US officials expect the issue to come up again, forecasting that the House will discuss Israel bound funds when Congress considers spending bills in the fall.
The US and Egypt launched their cooperative development program in 1975. By 2000, the Republic had received over $23 billion in American aid. It received $200 million through the Commodity Import Program (CIP) in 2001, in addition to $36 million for wastewater services, $406 million for various programs and disbursements, $150 million under the Development Support Program, $21 million for reproductive health programs, $17 million for child health, $40 million for educational development and $400 million for budget support.
This past June, the Bush administration provided $202 million to Egypt to support its economic reform process. Some $150 million went to the support of Egyptian Government efforts to combat money laundering, while $52 million supported Egypt’s efforts to mobilize investment through expansion of capital markets and privatization. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)