News / Middle East

Egypt Criticizes US Decision to Halt Aid

FILE - Egyptian army soldiers take their positions on top and next to their armored vehicles to guard an entrance of Tahrir Square, in Cairo. Obama administration is poised to slash hundreds of millions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Eg
FILE - Egyptian army soldiers take their positions on top and next to their armored vehicles to guard an entrance of Tahrir Square, in Cairo. Obama administration is poised to slash hundreds of millions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Eg
Reuters
— Egypt on Thursday criticized the U.S. decision to halt some aid to the army-backed government following a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood that has plunged the country into a violent political crisis.
 
Washington faces a dilemma in dealing with a major regional ally that controls the strategic Suez Canal and borders Israel but whose army overthrew the first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi, after mass protests against his rule.
 
It said on Wednesday it would withhold deliveries of tanks, fighter aircraft, helicopters and missiles as well as $260 million in cash aid but left some other aid programs intact.
 
U.S. Foreign Assistance to EgyptU.S. Foreign Assistance to Egypt
x
U.S. Foreign Assistance to Egypt
U.S. Foreign Assistance to Egypt
The U.S. position highlights the dilemma and also exposes differences with key Gulf ally Saudi Arabia, which had welcomed Morsi's removal and has lavished extensive financial support to the new government.
 
It also raises the question of where Egypt, the second largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel, could now turn for more military aid.
 
“The decision was wrong. Egypt will not surrender to American pressure and is continuing its path towards democracy as set by the roadmap,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty told a private Egyptian radio station Radio FM.
 
Abdelatty later said in a statement the decision “posed serious questions around the United States' readiness to provide stable strategic support for Egypt's security programs”.
 
The decision was made pending progress on democracy and human rights but the State Department said it would continue military support for counter terrorism, counter-proliferation and security in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders U.S. ally Israel. It will also continue to provide funding in areas such as education, health and private sector development.
 
The private, anti-Islamist leaning Tahrir newspaper was even bolder in its criticism, with a headline proclaiming, “Let the American aid go to hell”.
 
Crackdown
 
The army ousted Morsi in July, installed an interim government and presented a political “roadmap” it promised would lead to fair elections.
 
The Brotherhood refuses to work with the military, which it says staged a coup and sabotaged Egypt's democratic gains after a revolt toppled autocratic President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
 
Egypt's security forces have cracked down hard on the Brotherhood since Morsi's overthrow, crushing two pro-Morsi protest camps, killing hundreds, and then arresting scores from the group, including much of the senior leadership.
 
Morsi himself has been held in a secret location since his ouster. He is due to face trial on Nov. 4 on charges of inciting violence, in a move that is likely to further inflame tensions between the army and the Brotherhood.
 
The army-backed government also declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew. A court order has banned the Brotherhood, Egypt's oldest and most influential Islamist group, that dominated national elections since Mubarak's overthrow.
 
Widening violence
 
The U.S. decision demonstrated its unhappiness with Egypt's path since Morsi was ousted.
 
In the latest violence, pro-Morsi supporters clashed with security forces and political opponents on Sunday, with state media reporting 57 people dead.
 
Raising the specter of more bloodshed, the political wing of the now-banned Brotherhood, the Freedom and Justice Party, called for a “million-man march” on Friday to head towards Tahrir, cradle of the demonstrations that overthrew Mubarak.
 
Besides the political crisis that has decimated tourism and investment in the most populous Arab state, Egypt is witnessing a wave of Islamist militant attacks against security forces that has occasionally spilled over beyond the Sinai region.
 
On Thursday, one police and three army conscripts were killed in a car bomb attack in the region, which is near Israel and the Gaza Strip, security sources said. Militants also claimed a failed assassination attack on the Egyptian interior minister last month.
 
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to tell him about the decision, stressing the relationship's importance but underscored that Egypt must move towards democracy.
 
The military denies it carried out a coup, saying it responded to the will of the people.
 
Abdelatty, the foreign ministry spokesman, said Egypt was “keen on continuing good relations with the United States”.
 
“[Egypt] will take decisions relating to internal affairs with complete independence, without external influences and will work on guaranteeing to secure its vital needs in a continued and orderly manner, especially with regards to national security,” he added.
 
Egypt has for decades been among the largest recipients of U.S. military and economic aid because of its 1979 peace treaty with Israel, which agreed as a result of the pact to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula it seized from Egypt in 1967.
 
The United States has long provided Egypt with about $1.55 billion in annual aid, including $1.3 billion for the military.

You May Like

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Nigerian Islamic School Tries to Combat Boko Haram

Kaduna school headmaster teaches his students that what militants are doing is are doing is 'a total misunderstanding of the Islamic religion' More

University Trains Students to Advocate for Deaf People Worldwide

Program prepares graduates to advocate internationally for access to education, jobs for people with disabilities More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid