'Obama set to accelerate pace of US aid to Egypt'

By REUTERS
January 25, 2012 21:38

 
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DAVOS, Switzerland - US President Barack Obama plans to accelerate the pace of American aid to Egypt, a top State Department official said on Wednesday, as the most populous Arab nation reaches a critical stage in its uncertain transition away from autocratic rule.

Undersecretary of State Robert Hormats, part of a US delegation that held unprecedented talks last week with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, said Washington wanted to provide "more immediate benefits" to Egyptians, who earlier this month conducted their first democratic elections in decades.

"During this period, we want to be as supportive as we can. This is an historic moment. Egypt's a country of enormous importance," Hormats said.

Under the plan, some non-urgent US aid slated for other countries - he did not name them - would be redirected to Egypt. And funding in the pipeline for long-term programs in Egypt would be shifted to quick-impact projects, he said.

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