Middle East/North Africa

Biden placing new conditions on Egypt aid

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The Biden administration is placing new conditions on military aid to Egypt over human rights concerns, according to multiple reports.

The administration is looking to hold back some of the $300 million in military aid, a U.S. official told Politico on Monday.

The official told the outlet that the administration plans to give $170 million of the money, which can only be used for functions like counterterrorism, border security and nonproliferation. The remaining $130 million would be withheld until the Egyptian government meets certain human rights criteria.

Among the conditions, Egypt would have to end prosecutions against civil society organizations known as Case 173, The Washington Post reported.

Egypt would also have to release or drop charges against 16 individuals that the U.S. identified and raised with Cairo since June, according to the newspaper.

The White House referred questions on the aid to the State Department, which didn’t immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.

The House in July passed its version of the foreign policy appropriations package fully funding the $1.3 billion security assistance through 2023. However, some Democrats have called for cutting the funding over criticisms of Egypt’s government, including the detention of political prisoners.

The secretary of State is required by law to certify the Egyptian government is taking “sustained and effective steps” to strengthen the rule of law, democratic institutions and respect for human rights in order to release the military financing.

But the secretary can bypass that certification by issuing a waiver that it is in the U.S.’s national security interest to fully fund military assistance.

Mira Resnick, deputy assistant secretary for Regional Affairs in the State Department’s bureau of Political-Military Affairs, told a Senate panel last month that officials have raised concerns over human rights at “the highest level” of government, but said that Egypt is still a “critical security partner.”

“The president himself has underscored the importance of a constructive dialogue on human rights with the government of Egypt and we will continue to pursue this, even as we pursue shared security goals on maritime security, on border security, on counter terrorism,” Resnick said at the time.

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