Biden to withhold, restrict some military aid to Egypt

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Spokespersons for Blinken and the State Department did not immediately offer comment in response to requests sent via email and text.

The United States gives Egypt $1.3 billion in military aid annually. Of that, Congress has put human rights-related conditions on $300 million. But the secretary of State can overrule those conditions and let the aid reach Cairo, which has been the standard move.

The U.S. official said the administration plans to give $170 million of the $300 million to Egypt, but will withhold the remaining $130 million until the Egyptian government meets unspecified human rights conditions.

The $170 million, however, can be used only for certain functions such as counterterrorism, border security and non-proliferation.

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The $130 million being withheld is a sum arrived at by the Biden administration due to certain limitations put into statutes involving the funds.

President Joe Biden and Blinken, his chief diplomat, have said they are committed to promoting human rights, even when it comes to allied countries led by dictators like Egypt’s Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Several prominent Democratic lawmakers have pushed the administration to live up to that ideal and withhold the entire $300 million from Egypt. They note that, among other things, Sisi has jailed tens of thousands of people on political grounds.

Sisi has, however, found ways to be useful to the United States. That includes cooperating on counterterrorism and maintaining a cold peace with Israel. Earlier this year, Egypt helped broker a recent ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas militant group in Gaza. Sisi met on Monday with new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for talks in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm Al-Sheikh.

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