Egypt officials see end to US NGO stand-off

By REUTERS
February 7, 2012 17:29

 
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CAIRO - Egypt's government will back down in a stand-off with Washington over US funding for civil society groups because allowing the dispute to drag on could jeopardize aid worth billions of dollars, two Egyptian officials said.

Nineteen Americans are among 40 foreign and local activists banned from leaving Egypt and referred to a criminal court, accused of managing unlicensed non-governmental organizations and receiving foreign funds without official approval.

Some of the US citizens, belonging to the US-funded National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI), sought refuge in the American Embassy.

Washington has asked Egypt to drop the travel bans and allow the groups targeted in the investigation to resume their work. Both Congress and the White House have warned that the crackdown could threaten its yearly $1.3 billion US military support.

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