US lawmakers step up warnings on Egypt military aid

February 4, 2012 02:32

WASHINGTON - A leading US senator warned Egypt's military-led government on Friday that "the days of blank checks are over" as an Egyptian army team huddled with State Department officials to discuss the future of $1.3 billion in annual US military aid.

Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat who chairs the Senate subcommittee in charge of foreign aid, issued a blistering attack on Egypt's crackdown on local and US-funded pro-democracy groups and warned that Congress could block future aid unless changes are made.

"We want to send a clear message to the Egyptian military that the days of blank checks are over. We value the relationship and will provide substantial amounts of aid, but not unconditionally," Leahy said in his statement.

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