Sen. Kaine joins calls to freeze aid to Egypt

The Obama administration has decided not to label last month's ouster of President Mohamed Morsi a coup, which would trigger an automatic aid freeze. A number of lawmakers — including Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyGrassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees Popular bill to fight drug prices left out of budget deal Judiciary Dems want public hearings with Kushner, Trump Jr. MORE (D-Vt.), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Pence tours Rio Grande between US and Mexico GOP looks for Plan B after failure of immigration measures MORE (R-S.C.) — have called for aid to be withheld until Egypt restores democracy.

In a statement, Kaine laid out several conditions that should be met before assistance is restored:
  1. a clear commitment to hold democratic, credible elections that are free, fair, and transparent, consistent with international norms, and inclusive of all Egyptians;
  2. political and religious freedoms of all Egyptians are protected, including women and religious minorities; 
  3. civil society is allowed to operate openly and freely; 
  4. all international agreements and treaties are upheld; and 
  5. counter terrorism and security cooperation continue, including securing the Sinai and countering smuggling into Gaza.

“I do not make this decision lightly,” Kaine said. “I understand the complexities and depth of our relationship with Egypt, especially with regard to our assistance package.

“I hope the democratic transition in Egypt gets back on track for the sake of the Egyptian people, the region, and United States interests. I look forward to working with the Administration on a thorough policy review.”

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