US to release $195 mln in suspended military aid to Cairo shortly: Sources

Ahram Online , Wednesday 25 Jul 2018

A high-level Egyptian security and military delegation has been holding talks on US-Egyptian ties for over a week with top US military and political officials in Washington

Egyptian Delegation
Egyptian delegation during a visit to US Chamber of Commerce

The United States will shortly release $195 in military aid to Egypt it had suspended last year following talks with an Egyptian military delegation currently visiting Washington, sources close to the delegation told Ahram Online on Wednesday.

Washington withheld the assistance in August 2017 on the basis that it couldn’t certify that Cairo had made sufficient progress on human rights and democracy, and said another $95 million in aid would be spent elsewhere in the region. Cairo at the time said the decision reflected "poor judgement" and could have "negative repercussions" on common interests between the two countries.

A high-level Egyptian security and military delegation which has been holding talks over the past week with top Trump administration officials in Washington to discuss US-Egyptian ties, said the discussions have yielded good results on this matter.

"The US Senate Appropriations Committee will release the suspended $195 million in military aid soon," one of the sources told Ahram Online on condition of anonymity.

During the talks, Egypt reiterated concerns that the suspension of the assistance was sending a "wrong message that US counterparts do not understand the nature of the challenges Egypt is facing, including the challenge of domestic and regional terrorism,” the source added.

The remarks came hours after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telephoned Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry to stress that Washington is committed to providing political and economic support to Cairo, mainly through its aid programme, and pledged to "remove obstacles in this regard," according to Egypt's foreign ministry.

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.

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