US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stressed his country’s commitment of supporting Egypt on political, economic, and military levels, especially the US military aid programme.
In a phone call with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Tuesday, Pompeo discussed enhancing the bilateral strategic relations to strengthen Egypt’s abilities in combating security challenges and maintaining regional stability, according to Egypt’s Foreign Ministry statement.
Furthermore, Pompeo assured that the upcoming period will witness “an increase” in US economic and military support to Egypt.
Meanwhile, Shoukry is expected to visit Washington, during the first week of August, according to the statement, in order to continue discussions on cooperation and coordination concerning recent updates in the Middle East. Pompeo further praised the Egyptian efforts on the Palestinian reconciliation.
In August last year, the US government halted $95.7m in aid to Egypt and delayed a further $195m of aid over “alleged human rights and democracy concerns.” The decision sparked criticism by the Egyptian authorities.
More than a month later, US President Donald Trump said during a meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi that he would reconsider resuming some suspended military assistance to Egypt.
During a subcommittee hearing on Egypt before the US House of Representatives on Tuesday, several members expressed their rejections to giving Egypt $78bn in assistance, considering shifting the assistance to support Egyptian people in distinct categories, such as labour force development, rather than the military.
Since signing the Camp David peace accords in 1979, the United States has provided Egypt with large amounts of military assistance, as Egypt became since then the most important ally to the US in the Arab world.
Between 1946 and 2016, it has provided Egypt with $78.3bn in bilateral foreign aid. Over the past two decades, US economic aid to Egypt has been reduced by over 90%, from $833 million in fiscal year (FY) 1998 to a request of $75m for FY 2019, according to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service.