The U.S. government under Joe Biden will suspend $130 million of its military aid to Egypt until Cairo takes concrete steps related to human rights.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price made the announcement Tuesday in an e-mailed statement. He also expressed deep U.S. concern about the human rights situation in Egypt.
The U.S. Secretary of State “will proceed with the $130 million payment to Cairo if the Egyptian government positively addresses certain human rights-related conditions,” the statement added.
Earlier, a U.S. government official who did not want to be named said the Biden administration would approve $170 million in aid to Egypt, but would withhold the remaining $130 million and provide it to Cairo in future fiscal years if that country improves its human rights record.
The move by U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reflects his departure from the department’s previous policy of bypassing congressional oversight of military aid to Egypt.
In the past, there was an exception that $300 million in foreign military funding was allocated to the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi because it was in the interest of U.S. national security.
According to a congressional research report, the United States has provided about $1.3 billion in foreign aid to Egypt annually since fiscal year 2017.
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had ousted former President Mohammed Morsi in a military coup in 2013. Al-Sisi has pursued a policy of suppressing opposition since coming to power in Egypt in 2014, with the support of the West.