TIMEP Statement on U.S Aid to Egypt

04/25/2014 . By TIMEP

TIMEP Calls Upon U.S. Government to Hold Egypt to Highest Standards in Making Aid Determinations

Encourages Increased Engagement with Egyptian Civil Society

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Washington, D.C. – In response to news that the United States plans to release $650 million in foreign military aid to Egypt, the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP) acknowledges the need for counterterrorism assistance in Egypt in light of the real security threats facing the country, and encourages the responsible use of this assistance in combating terrorist groups known to be operating within Egypt. Simultaneously, TIMEP also expresses its expectation that as the United States continues to assess its relationship with Egypt, it will remain focused on promoting human rights and engaging with civil society actors in Egypt.

According to a statement and press briefing by the State Department this week, Secretary Kerry has informed Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy that he will certify to the U.S. Congress that Egypt is “sustaining the strategic partnership” with the United States and “meeting its obligations” under the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty. These certifications—required under the 2014 funding bill—clear the way for the United States to release half of its allotted $1.3 billion in foreign military funding to Egypt.

Additional aid to Egypt could be released if Egypt demonstrates that it is “taking steps to support a democratic transition.” During his phone call with Foreign Minister Fahmy, Secretary Kerry appropriately noted that he is unable to certify that this condition has been met. TIMEP supports Secretary Kerry’s assessment and urges him to hold Egypt to the highest standards in evaluating whether this condition has been met. In particular, Egypt should be urged to: hold free, fair, and transparent elections; relax constraints on freedom of expression, assembly, and the media; and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Egyptians.

As the United States begins to mend its ties with Egypt, TIMEP urges the U.S. government to comprehensively evaluate its engagement with Egyptian stakeholders on a long-term basis. In particular, the United States should ensure that diplomatic and military relations are complemented and informed by increased civil society engagement, which will help to support independent voices that are crucial to promoting Egypt’s democratic transition prospects. U.S. engagement should focus not only on counter-terrorism efforts, but also on important issues such as improved governance, enhanced protections for rights and freedoms, and accelerated and inclusive economic growth, all of which are needed to bring about stability and security in the long-term.

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The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of democratic transitions in the Middle East through analysis, advocacy, and action.