Washongton froze aid to Egypt because of human rights

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A US source said Washington had decided to deny Cairo $ 95.77 million in aid and to postpone another $ 195 million.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has decided to freeze $ 195 million in foreign military aid to Egypt in fiscal year 2016, a US official said. But he said the money would be deposited in an account until Egypt makes progress on key priorities, a reference to human rights and democracy issues.

The US official said Washington was concerned about Egypt’s lack of progress in human rights and also about the new NGO law.

The US administration has therefore decided to reprogram military aid to Egypt worth 65 million seven hundred thousand dollars and economic aid of $ 30 million in fiscal year 2016. The source said the funds would be used to support other security partners, but without undermining Egyptian security.

These measures are the first of its kind in the era of Trump, with the United States providing annual military aid of about 1.3 billion dollars, as well as economic assistance.

The source pointed out that these measures express frustration at Cairo’s position on civil liberties, especially from the new NGO Law, which is widely seen as part of a growing campaign against the opposition.

He pointed out that Egyptian officials confirmed to American officials earlier this year that the law, which restricts the activity of NGOs on development and social action and impose penalties up to five years imprisonment for offenders, will not be approved.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi raised the displeasure of US officials after the entry into force in May of the NGO Law.

Egyptian human rights groups and activists said the NGO law effectively banned their work and made it difficult for charitable organizations to carry out their activities. After taking office early this year, the US president pledged to support Egypt in the fight against terrorism

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