Egypt ignores US aid cut threat in NGOs case

US Congress, White House say aid threatened in row over foreign-funded NGOs.

February 8, 2012 17:25
Kamal al-Ganzouri

Kamal al-Ganzouri 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)

CAIRO - Egypt said on Wednesday it would not be swayed by threats to aid when investigating foreign-funded pro-democracy groups and NGOs, a case that has prompted Washington to warn that US military support worth $1.3 billion a year may be in jeopardy.

The United States wants Egypt to drop travel bans on at least 19 US citizens involved in the case but Egypt's government says it cannot intervene in a judicial probe of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) over whether they violated laws such as receiving foreign cash without official approval.

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A total of 43 foreign and local activists are banned from leaving Egypt and their case has been referred to a criminal court.

"Egypt will apply the law ... in the case of NGOs and will not back down because of aid or other reasons," army-appointed Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri told a news conference.

The case has put a deep strain on relations with Washington, which counted Egypt as a close strategic ally under ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Both US Congress and the White House have warned that the crackdown could threaten the aid budget.

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