US to release much of conditioned annual aid to Egypt as progress in human rights made

Ahram Online , Thursday 15 Sep 2022

The Biden administration said on Wednesday that it will provide Egypt with much of the $300 million tranche of annual military aid that has been conditioned on human rights improvements, according to the AP.

Egypt And United State
Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken and Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry during press briefing in Washington DC. in November 2021 (photo courtesy of Egyptian Foreign Ministry)


The move came as Cairo had made progress by releasing some 500 prisoners, according to the AP, which quoted anonymous senior US officials who disclosed the move by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The US officials cited the release of some 500 political detainees and what they said were Egyptian government efforts to foster national dialogue, the AP reported.

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi launched in September 2021 the first homegrown National Strategy for Human Rights 2021-2026, labelling 2022 as the Year of Civil Society. In October, he revoked a national state of emergency that had been in place for the past several years.

The two steps were followed by the reactivation of the Presidential Pardon Committee in April and the start of preparations for the National Political Dialogue – called for by the president – in May.

El-Sisi has since pardoned a number of high-profile political activists who had received final sentences such as Hossam Mones, Yahia Abdel-Hady, Hisham Fouad and others.

Also since May, Egypt's Public Prosecution has ordered the release of hundreds of pretrial detainees as the government and various political forces prepare for an extensive National Political Dialogue that will discuss pressing political, economic and social issues.

The US has been providing Egypt with foreign aid, including military assistance, since Cairo's 1979 peace deal with Israel.

Each year, Egypt receives approximately $1.3 billion in US military aid, as well as an annual economic assistance package, which amounted to $150 million in 2016, according to the website of Egypt's foreign ministry.

In late January, the US administration announced massive military sales to Egypt comprising 12 Super Hercules C-130 transport aircraft and related equipment, in addition to air defence radar systems.

The deal, worth $2.2 billion, was approved by the US Senate in March.

In July, the US government pledged $50 million (EGP 947 million) to support Egypt’s food security as well as the smallholder farmers in the country to help offset the severe global consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

According to US embassy in Cairo, US President Biden made the pledge during his bilateral meeting with President El-Sisi in Jeddah on the sidelines of the GCC+3 summit.

Short link: