Clinton to let US military aid to Egypt go ahead
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to allow some US military assistance to Egypt to go forward despite its failure to meet pro-democracy conditions, a Democratic senator said on Thursday, a move he sharply criticized, Today's Zaman reported.
The office of Patrick Leahy, who chairs the Senate subcommittee on foreign aid, announced the decision and made clear his deep unhappiness with it, arguing Clinton should now limit the amount of military aid that is released.
Under US law, Clinton had to certify whether Egypt was meeting its obligations under its peace treaty with Israel to receive any US assistance. She also had to certify whether Egypt was meeting a series of pro-democracy conditions in order for it to get the $1.3 billion in annual US military aid it has typically received.
Leahy's office said Clinton certified that Egypt met the first requirement and used her authority to waive the second. He said this sent the wrong signal to the Egyptian military which has ruled the country since last year's ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak following a popular uprising.
"The Egyptian military should be defending fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, not harassing and arresting those who are working for democracy," Leahy said in a statement. "They should end trials of civilians in military courts and fully repeal the Emergency Law, and our policy should not equivocate on these key reforms."
"Now that Secretary Clinton has decided to use the law's waiver authority, she should use the flexibility the law provides and release no more taxpayer funds than is demonstrably necessary, withholding the rest in the (US) Treasury pending further progress in the transition to democracy," Leahy added.