The Biden administration announced it was canceling $130 million in military aid to Egypt on human rights grounds, just days after the United States approved a massive arms sale from $2.5 billion domestically.
The State Department said Friday that Egypt had not met the conditions to receive the $130 million in foreign military funding suspended since September. He said the money would be transferred to other programs, but did not elaborate.
In announcing the cancellation, the department made no mention of the $2.5 billion sale of military transport planes and radar systems it approved on Tuesday; the announcement of this agreement had made no mention of the frozen $130 million.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken in September approved the release of $300 million in foreign military funding to Egypt, but withheld an additional $130 million unless the government addressed “specific conditions related to rights rights” by the end of January.
“The deadline for fulfilling these conditions will soon pass,” the ministry said. “The [Egyptian government] has made notable progress on the conditions, but to date has not met all of them. Therefore, after January 30, the Secretary intends to reprogram the $130 million to other national security priorities.
Asked about the apparent inconsistency, US officials said the military aid and arms sales were unrelated.
They say Egypt will bear the cost of the $2.2 billion purchase of the 12 C‑130 Super Hercules transport planes as well as air defense radar systems worth an estimated $355 million.
Large-scale crackdown on dissent
Congressional Democrats who had urged Blinken not to approve the $130 million in aid were pleased with Friday’s decision but did not address the arms sale that dwarfs the amount of aid withheld.
“I’m glad the Biden administration held its own by reprogramming these funds,” said Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut.
“It sends the important message overseas that we will back our commitment to human rights with action and that the days of dictators receiving blank checks from America are over.”
On Tuesday, the State Department announced the $2.5 billion arms sale, saying it would “support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a great country. non-NATO ally which continues to be an important strategic point”. partner in the Middle East.
“We maintain that our bilateral relationship with Egypt will be stronger and that U.S. interests will be better served, thanks to the United States’ continued commitment to advancing our national security interests, including addressing our concerns in matter of human rights,’ the department said.
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