An Egyptian military delegation to the US is set to return home prematurely on Wednesday, amid worsening relations between the two nations. Judicial authorities have indicted 43 people – including six US citizens among 29 foreign nationals and 14 Egyptians – working for non-governmental organisations allegedly operating without appropriate licences in Egypt.
The decision was issued despite a blunt warning from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to her Egyptian counterpart, Mohamed Kamel Amr, at a meeting on the sidelines of a recent security conference in Munich.
In December, Egypt’s military rulers pledged to allow 17 NGOs previously raided by security forces to reopen and operate after the US voiced concern.
US foreign aid to Egypt, totalling $1.3 billion annually, is contingent upon the latter's commitment to 'democracy', which the US State Department has to certify, according to a new Congressional restriction. Certification now appears to be hanging in the balance.
The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is yet to comment on the US reaction to the issue.