Each year the United States sets aside $ 1.3 billion for Egypt. Or rather, for the Egyptian Armed Forces. For Americans, the country is one of the region’s most important allies, and that pays off tremendously every year. But this economic support is increasingly criticized.
Biden must have believed it this week as well. The president who regularly proclaims that “human rights are at the heart of our foreign policy” must now perform a complex balancing act to keep this promise, on the one hand, and on the other hand, to strengthen ties with President Sisi’s regime – which, despite its reputation, is becoming a stable element in the region – easy to maintain.
Visible steps in the field of human rights
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Tuesday how the Biden administration intends to resolve this dilemma: of the $ 300 million yet to be transferred to Egypt this fiscal year, Washington will only transfer $ 170 million. The remaining 130 million will be withheld by the United States and will only be returned if Egypt takes visible human rights action.
But while this appears to be an improvement on the policies of previous governments, 19 human rights groups denounce in a statement released Tuesday. If Biden is serious about making a statement, they say, he can also agree to what the US Congress already passed in 2014: that if Egypt does not take demonstrable human rights action, states United will take 300 million year from 1.3 billion.
Biden attacked Trump for his close ties to Sissi
This measure has simply never been implemented; Both Obama and Trump were granted a special waiver each year that paid out the $ 300 million, despite Egypt going through the most repressive period in the country’s modern history under President Abdel Fattah. al-Sisi.
The fact that Biden attacked Trump for his close ties to Sisi during his election campaign, and is now also using a special waiver to release $ 170 million for the Egyptian government – against the will of Congress – shows little foreign policy sign, according to them. human rights. which focuses on human rights.
“If the government’s commitment to human rights was genuine, it would be an easy choice,” they write in their statement. Namely: “Withhold the 300 million military aid, as determined by Congress, in order to urge Sisi to change course”.
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