Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak “appears relieved” over initial congressional approval for continued US military aid to Egypt, according to the Middle East Newsline (MENL) on Thursday.
Egyptian officials said that so far, Congress had not acted on threats to cut at least $100 million in US military aid to Cairo, said the report.
The issue is being pressed by several Republican leaders in the House and Senate who are ostensibly dismayed by Egypt's human rights violations as well as efforts to develop an intermediate-range missile.
Cairo is said to have accelerated efforts to complete a No-Dong missile variant.
Egypt has sought 50 engines from North Korea to power the missile.
On Tuesday, US officials reported that North Korea tested an engine used in the long-range Taepo Dong-1 missile program. Last week's test was said to have been the most significant development in North Korea's missile development program since 1998, according to MENL.
Last week, a House Appropriations subcommittee approved the current level of US civilian and military aid to Egypt.
According to the news service, Egypt receives $1.3 billion in military aid and about $630 million in non-military aid.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher was quoted as saying that the House vote last week appeared to mark a defeat for opponents of Egypt.
Maher said he was assured by the Bush administration of continued support for Egypt.
"I have felt a loud minority in the US Congress," Maher told the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs on Sunday. "But they do not represent overall opinion even though they are capable of launching a campaign to collect signatures against Egypt. When it comes to voting on Egyptian issues, they [Congress] are usually in our favor."
Many government figures have also taken a sharp right turn on aid to Egypt since the Arab state began a campaign of diplomatic support for the Palestinians, who are currently rising up against 34 years of Israeli military occupation.
Fortune magazine this year again ranked the American Israel Public Affairs Committee among the "top 5" in its annual survey of premier lobbying groups. Ranked fourth overall among Fortune's Power 25, AIPAC remains the number one foreign policy lobby considered the second most powerful lobby, trailing only America's association of retired people. – Albawaba.com
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