Cairo: Decision on Egypt Aid Reveals Concerns About Washington's Grasp on Regional Problems
Cairo is not happy with Washington for deciding that large-arms and cash deliveries would be suspended to Egypt because they haven't been inclusive enough to the Muslim Brotherhood.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the aid was frozen "pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically-elected civilian government through free and fair elections."
That includes withholding Apache helicopters, fighter jets and missiles from Egypt as the interim government fights terrorism in the Sinai and other Islamists unhappy with the Tamarod revolution that ousted Mohamed Morsi from power.
"The decision was wrong in terms of content and time. It raises serious questions about U.S. readiness to provide stable strategic support to Egyptian security progammes amid threats and terrorism challenges it has been facing," spokesman Badr Abdel Atty said in a statement today, according to Al-Ahram. "Egypt will take domestic decisions independently and without external influences and will work towards securing its vital needs ... namely those related to its national security."
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney "our overriding interest throughout these past few years has been to encourage a government that legitimately reflects the will of the Egyptian people and recognizes true democracy as requiring the respect for minority rights, the rule of law, freedom of speech and assembly, and a strong civil society."
The interim government's cabinet includes three women and three Christians. Morsi's cabinet had no such diversity.
"We will continue to work with the interim government to promote our core interests and to support areas that benefit the Egyptian people," Carney said. "The president was also clear, and has been clear, that we are not able to continue with business as usual."
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) backed the administration's decision.
“Our relationship with Egypt is bound by decades of shared concerns to ensure regional stability, maintain the Camp David peace accords, and cooperate on counterterrorism and border security efforts. Assistance to Egypt that supports these common goals should continue,” said Menendez. “But ongoing violence in Egypt is troubling, shows no signs of abating, and given these worrisome developments, a pause in assistance is appropriate until the Egyptian government demonstrates a willingness and capability to follow the roadmap toward a sustainable, inclusive and non-violent transition to democracy."
"I also call on leaders from the Muslim Brotherhood and Freedom and Justice Party to denounce violence, support peaceful protests, and engage constructively in a national reconciliation process so that Egypt may move forward on its democratic path," he added.
The Muslim Brotherhood said in a statement Wednesday that it warns "all international, regional and local institutions from falling into the trap of economic dealings with this government."
"The Alliance warns all financial institutions and economic organizations not to deal with an illegitimate government that does not represent the Egyptian people," the MB said. "The Alliance emphasizes that procedures or decisions made by the coup government are void in form and content, and any consequences thereof are also void."