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Congress calls out Pompeo over Egypt aid waiver

Democratic senators warned Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that a recent US waiver to allow military aid to Egypt could be seen as an “endorsement” of human rights abuses.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry face reporters before their meeting at the State Department in Washington, U.S., August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas - RC1E1408CCB0

Democratic lawmakers are urging the Donald Trump administration to leverage its $1.3 billion military relationship with Egypt as the US ally cracks down on human rights.

In a letter obtained by Al-Monitor, Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo they were “disappointed” by his August decision to waive rights conditions tied to nearly $200 million in US weapons assistance to Egypt. They worry Egypt will see the State Department’s waiver as a rubber stamp for attacks on civil liberties, including a new law that further restricts the activity of nongovernmental organizations.

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