Egyptian FM Sameh Shoukry during a meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 12, 2018 - Reuters
CAIRO – 26 July 2018: Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said that the U.S. decision to lift the hold off some military aid to Egypt emphasizes the significant relations between the two countries and their keenness to support bilateral ties.
The United States will very soon lift the hold off aid to Egypt after talks with a military delegation from the latter, a source told Ahram Online on Wednesday.
The $195 million military aid – withheld in August 2017 over allegations of human rights and democracy breaches – will be released by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee.
In an interview with Sherif Amer on MBC, Abu Zeid said that the Egyptian Foreign Ministry had announced arranging a telephone call between Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo. During the call, Shoukry was notified by the U.S. decision.
Pompeo affirmed the U.S. keenness to enhance strategic relations with Egypt, and the commitment to back Egypt politically, economically and developmentally, through the current cooperation strategies between the two states, including the USAID program with Egypt, adding that more aid will be provided to Egypt in the next period.
Egypt and Israel receive U.S. military aid as part of the peace treaty signed in 1979. The annual amount allocated for Egypt is $1.3 billion. On the other hand, Israel and the United States signed an agreement in September 2016 for the latter to provide Israel with $35 billion in defense aid over the period of 10 years.
Since the treaty was signed, Israel has received an economic aid of $8 billion yearly, while Egypt has received $1 billion.
In August 2017, the U.S. announced a decision to deny $95.7 million in grants and aid to Egypt, and to delay the disbursement of $195 million in military aid because of alleged human rights violations.
The Washington Post published a report in October claiming that Egypt secretly imported more than 24,000 North Korean rocket-propelled grenades in violation of UN Security Council sanctions. Shoukry denied that the shipment was destined for Egyptian military.
Shoukry stressed that Egypt is a non-permanent member of the Security Council, and is committed to the council's resolutions. He noted that the Security Council delegates and investigators had participated in all the measures taken against the North Korean shipment until the sanctions committee issued its report on the case, denying that the shipment was destined for Egypt.
In an interview with Egypt Today in October, U.S. Representative for Iowa Steve King expressed concerns about the decision as he considers Egypt, under the leadership of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, to be a key ally in the region and an important counterweight in the fight against terrorism.
“Egypt is a key player in the fight against Islamic Radicalism, and these suggested cuts appear to contradict the Trump Administration’s own stated desire to support Egypt and its people in the fight against terror,” he stated.
Additional reporting by Noha Al-Tawil, Mohamed Abdel Maguid, Eman Hanna