Clinton to clear way to resume aid to Egypt: US official

WASHINGTON- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will Friday open the way to resuming $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt that had been suspended over human rights concerns.
"Tomorrow, Secretary Clinton will certify that Egypt is meeting its obligations under its peace treaty with Israel," a senior State Department official told AFP in an email Thursday.

Clinton to clear way to resume aid to Egypt: US official
Clinton would waive requirements on whether Cairo is making progress towards democracy to allow for "the continued flow of foreign military financing to Egypt."
The State Department official, who asked to remain anonymous, stressed that "on the democracy side, Egypt has made more progress in 16 months than in the last 60 years," highlighting free and fair parliamentary elections as well as the transfer of legislative authority to the new people's assembly.
"Yet Egypt's transition to democracy is not yet complete, and more work remains to protect universal rights and freedoms, and the role of NGO's and civil society," the official added.
The $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt, which has underpinned US ties to Egypt for three decades and cemented Egypt's 1979 peace with Israel, had come under review amid Cairo's crackdown on pro-democracy groups.
There is also a further $250 million dollars in annual economic aid which has never been called into question.
In December, Cairo prosecutors stormed the offices of the US-funded International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House as part of a probe into allegations of illegal foreign funding.
In January, Egypt then barred some US members of the NGOs -- which are seeking to promote Egypt's fledgling democracy -- from leaving the country and a number of them took refuge at the US embassy.
But tensions between Cairo and Washington eased this month when Egypt allowed six American and seven other foreign NGO members to leave the country after they posted bail.
"These decisions reflect our overarching goal: to maintain our strategic partnership with an Egypt made stronger and more stable by a successful transition to democracy," the State Department official added.

Friday, March 23rd 2012

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