Trump 'will consider' resuming aid to Egypt despite rights violations

Trump 'will consider' resuming aid to Egypt despite rights violations
US President Trump said he would consider resuming military aid to Egypt, despite a damning report condemning Cairo for its poor human rights record and impunity granted to security forces.
2 min read
21 September, 2017
Egypt's military aid was halted last month over human rights concerns [AFP]

The United States will consider resuming some suspended military assistance to Egypt, US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday.

The US government last month decided to deny Egypt $95.7 million in aid and to delay a further $195 million over human rights concerns.

Asked if he would restart military to aid to Egypt, Trump told reporters as he began a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi: "We're going to certainly consider it."

However, on the same day, Trump's administration issued a damning report on human rights in Sisi's Egypt, condemning detentions, disappearances and reports of extrajudicial executions in the country.

The report, detailed in a State Department memorandum to Congress seen by The Associated Press, was legally required for the Trump administration to resume aid, despite its failure to meet multiple conditions on good governance.

"The overall human rights climate in Egypt continues to deteriorate," the memo said.

"Arrests often occur without warrants or judicial orders. Conditions in prisons and detention centres are harsh due to overcrowding, physical abuse, inadequate medical care, and poor ventilation."

The memo also criticised Cairo for mass "impunity" granted to police and security forces.

On August 27, sources said the Trump administration decided to "reprogramme" $65.7 million in fiscal year 2017 Foreign Military Financing funds and $30 million in fiscal year 2016 Economic Support Fund funds.

"Reprogramming" means these funds would be used for other purposes and would not go to Egypt.

The administration made a separate decision to withhold $195 million in fiscal year 2016 Foreign Military Financing funds which, had it not acted, would have expired and ceased to be available at the end of the current fiscal year on September 30.