Egypt’s post-revolutionary authorities have set it on a collision course with Washington, its erstwhile ally, by deciding to charge 44 NGO workers including 19 Americans with illegal activities.
The Obama administration and senior Congressional leaders have warned Egypt that $1.5 billion in American aid could be withdrawn due to the investigation. Egypt’s receiving the funds is contingent on its government showing that it is making progress towards democracy, including the acknowledgement of the independence of civil groups. The US State Department says that the investigations endanger Egypt being certified to receive the aid.
On September 22, 2011, the Senate Committee on Appropriations marked up S. 1601, the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2012. The
bill provides the full FY2012 $1.55 billion request for Egypt, but it does include some conditions. The bill authorizes FMF grants to be transferred to ESF. It also states that no funds in the bill may be provided to Egypt unless the Secretary of State certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that such government is meeting its obligations under the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty and that that the Government of Egypt has held free and fair elections and is implementing policies to protect the rights of journalists, due process, and freedoms of expression and association. S. 1601 also authorizes bilateral debt relief for Egypt and up to $60 million in ESF for Egypt to create an Enterprise Fund to support small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs)…
On July 19, Senators Kerry, McCain, and Lieberman introduced S. 1388, the Middle East and North Africa Transition and Development Act. The bill finds, among other things, that the functions of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are consistent with the critical and rising economic needs of Egypt and the Middle East and North Africa. Overall, the bill would facilitate the EBRD’s lending to the region should candidate countries meet certain criteria.