US to withhold up to $290 million in aid from Egypt

 22 Aug 2017 - 21:48

US to withhold up to $290 million in aid from Egypt
US President Donald Trump (R) meets with Egypts President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017.(Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Reuters

WASHINGTON: The United States has decided to deny Egypt $95.7 million in aid and to delay a further $195 million because of its failure to make progress on respecting human rights and democratic norms, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The decision reflects a U.S. desire to continue security cooperation as well as frustration with Cairo’s stance on civil liberties, notably a new law that regulates non-governmental organizations that is widely seen as part a growing crackdown on dissent, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Spokespeople for the White House and the State Department were not immediately available for comment.  U.S. officials were especially unhappy that Egyptian

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in May allowed the NGO law to go into effect. Human rights groups and activists have said that it effectively bans their work and makes it harder for charities to operate.

Egyptian officials had assured U.S. officials earlier this year that the law, which restricts NGO activity to developmental and social work and introduces jail terms of up to five years for non-compliance, would not go through, the sources said

(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed and Warren Strobel; Editing by Phil Berlowitz, Toni Reinhold)