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US to send more military aid to Egypt despite rights concerns

Then Biden administration said it was in the US national security interest to release some of the funds that Congress had conditioned on Egypt making human rights progress.
Biden Sisi

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration will withhold $85 million from Egypt’s annual military assistance over human rights concerns, a smaller sum than Washington held back from Cairo’s aid package in each of the two previous years. 

The move will likely come as a disappointment to human rights advocates and many Democratic lawmakers who pushed the administration to withhold the full amount of aid — $320 million — that Congress had made contingent on the North African country improving its rights record. 

At $1.3 billion each year, Egypt ranks behind only Israel as the second-largest recipient of US military assistance. Since 2014, lawmakers have sought to use that aid as leverage with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former military general under whom human rights have sharply deteriorated. 

On Monday, the State Department notified lawmakers that it was withholding $85 million, the release of which would have required Secretary of State Antony Blinken to certify that Egypt made “clear and consistent” progress on the release of political prisoners, due process and preventing the intimidation and harassment of Americans. Blinken did not make that determination. 

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