US lawmakers criticize Egypt aid cuts, consider changing law

October 29, 2013 22:49

WASHINGTON - Some US lawmakers said on Tuesday they were unhappy about cuts in Washington's aid to Egypt announced earlier this month after authorities in Cairo used violence to put down protests.

They also said they were considering changes to a US law that bars sending assistance to governments that have been deemed to have seized power through a coup.

Members of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee said the aid cuts could affect close ties to the strategically important country, which controls the Suez canal and is the most populous Arab state.

"I support a continued and robust military relationship with Egypt," California Republican Ed Royce, the committee's chairman, said at a hearing on Egypt.

Some of President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats on the committee also expressed concern, questioning whether the White House had consulted with Israel, which has a peace treaty with Egypt, before making the aid decision.

Suspending aid could jeopardize decades of close cooperation with Egypt's military, said Representative Eliot Engel of New York, the panel's top Democrat.

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