'Political' foreign funding of parties and NGOs not accepted, says Aboul Naga

Hatem Maher, Sunday 23 Oct 2011

Egypt's minister of international cooperation says any foreign funding of groups in the country can only be in the field of development, not politics

Fayza Aboul-Naga
Egyptian minister of international cooperation Fayza Aboul-Naga (R)

Egypt’s minister of planning and international cooperation, Fayza Aboul Naga, said on Sunday that politically motivated foreign funding of parties and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is prohibited.

“Egypt does not oppose foreign funding of NGOs as long as it complies with the rules governing that matter. It also has to be for development, not political purposes,” Aboul Naga said in a statement.

“Political funding for parties and civil societies is illegal, not only in Egypt but in the whole world, including the United States.”

The notion of foreign funding has stirred hot debates in Egypt since January’s revolution, which ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year authoritarian rule. Many activists supported the idea, but the Egyptian government has on several occasions voiced reservations, citing sovereignty concerns.

Aboul Naga also added Egypt has formally informed the United States it would no longer accept funding of unregistered NGOs. “The Egyptian government told its US counterpart that it does not permit funding of unregistered Egyptian NGOs as well as the American NGOs that have not obtained permission to operate in Egypt,” she said.

“There are 14 American and 12 Egyptian unlicensed NGOs that were handed $47.8 million and $5.8 million by the US government respectively following the revolution,” Aboul Naga noted.

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