(JNS.org) Egypt lashed out at a decision by the Trump administration to cut nearly $100 million in military and economic aid to the Arab country, while suspending some $200 million more in financing over human rights concerns.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement it regretted the U.S. decision, calling it a "misjudgment of the nature of the strategic relations that have bound the two countries for decades."
The statement said the move "reflects a lack of careful understanding of the importance of supporting the stability and success of Egypt, as well as the size and nature of the security and economic challenges faced by the Egyptian people."
Egypt warned that the cuts may have "negative consequences for the realization of common U.S.-Egyptian interests."
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced Aug. 22 the U.S. would withhold $65.7 million in military assistance and $30 million in economic aid, pending human rights improvements as well as actions to ease harsh restrictions on civic groups and other NGOs in Egypt. Following Tillerson’s decision, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo as part of a Mideast tour to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Egypt is the second-largest recipient of U.S. military and economic aid, with $1.3 billion going to the military and $250 million devoted towards economic aid that is linked to the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.
Earlier this year, El-Sisi visited with the White House, where he was warmly welcomed by Trump. During the visit, which largely focused on combatting terrorism as well as other security and regional issues, Trump made no mention of human rights abuses in Egypt. President Barack Obama's administration had commonly called attention to Egypt's human rights situation.