U.S. set to withhold military aid to Egypt over human rights – official

The Biden administration has chosen to withhold $130 million of foreign military aid to Egypt over its failure to fulfil its human rights conditions, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, but permitted some funds to go through due to its determination that Cairo has made progress on political detentions.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has determined that Cairo, by releasing hundreds of jailed individuals, had made some progress on political detentions and due process, the officials said. Human rights groups have pushed for withholding all of a $300 million portion of aid to Egypt placed under conditions by the U.S. Congress, citing widespread human rights abuses under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government including torture and enforced disappearances.

The aid that Blinken has decided to withhold accounts for only ten percent of the $1.3 billion allocated for Egypt annually. Washington is allowing $75 million to be released to Egypt, citing progress related to political detentions and due process, including the release of around 500 political detainees this year.

U.S. officials say the relationship with Egypt is complex. The most populous Arab country is a vital ally and Washington is still committed to support it for its “legitimate defense needs.”

Image Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik