EGYPT/FOREIGN POLICY/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “U.S. President Donald Trump called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday [8-24-17] and said he was keen to overcome any obstacles in the way of cooperation, just days after the U.S. said it would withhold some financial aid to Egypt…
On Tuesday, two U.S. sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that Washington had decided to deny Egypt $95.7 million in aid and to delay a further $195 million because it had failed to make progress on respecting human rights and democracy.
Egypt, an important regional partner for the United States because of its control of the Suez Canal and its border with Israel, receives $1.3 billion in aid annually and was critical of the U.S. decision.
Its foreign ministry said on Wednesday that the decision to withhold aid reflected ‘poor judgment’ and that it could have ‘negative implications’ on achieving common goals and interests between the two countries.
The decision reflects a U.S. desire to continue security cooperation as well as its frustration with Cairo’s stance on civil liberties. In particular, a new law regulating non-governmental organizations is widely seen as part a growing crackdown on dissent, said the U.S. sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Egyptian rights activists have said they face the worst crackdown in their history under Sisi, accusing him of erasing freedoms won in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.”
-Reuters Staff, “Trump calls Egypt’s Sisi, says keen to overcome obstacles,” Reuters, Aug. 24, 2017 05:00pm