Egypt worried over US bill linking aid to democracy

'Washington Post' quotes Egyptian official as saying passage of legislation withholding aid would be "detrimental to future cooperation."

September 30, 2011 11:44
1 minute read.
Egyptian FM Amr with US counterpart Clinton

Egyptian FM Amr with US counterpart Clinton 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

Egyptian officials have expressed alarm at a US Senate bill proposing to condition continued American aid to Egypt on Cairo's transition to a democratic government, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

The proposed legislation calls for US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to verify that Egypt has held democratic elections and preserved freedoms of the press - expression and association - before releasing $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt for 2012.

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Meeting with Clinton and US Defense Minister Leon Panetta in Washington this week, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr warned that passage of the bill would be "detrimental to future cooperation" between the countries, according to a senior Egyptian official.

“We called on them to intervene,” The Washington Post quoted the Egyptian official as saying. He added that Clinton and Panetta “know the value of the partnership between the United States and Egypt."

Clinton expressed opposition to the bill, saying in a Wednesday press conference that she "will be working very hard . . . to convince the Congress that that is not the best approach to take.”

She added: “We support the democratic transition, and we don’t want to do anything that in any way draws into question our relationship or our support.”

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