US allows military aid to Egypt despite rights concerns

By REUTERS
June 7, 2013 04:30

 
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WASHINGTON - Secretary of State John Kerry quietly acted last month to give Egypt $1.3 billion in US military aid, deciding that this was in the national interest despite Egypt's failure to meet democracy standards.

Kerry made the decision well before an Egyptian court this week convicted 43 democracy workers, including 16 Americans, in what the United States regards as a politically motivated case against pro-democracy non-governmental organizations.

Rights groups believe Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi is retreating from democratic freedoms, notably in a new civil society law and in proposals for judicial reform that critics see as a way to purge judges perceived as hostile to the government.

Despite stating in a May 9 memo that "we are not satisfied with the extent of Egypt's progress and are pressing for a more inclusive democratic process and the strengthening of key democratic institutions," Kerry said the aid should go forward.

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