President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28 in Washington, D.C. - REUTERS
CAIRO – 26 August 2017: Washington's decision on August 22 to delay nearly $ 300 million in aid to Egypt reveals internal disputes inside the American administration. President Donald Trump’s conflict with Congress escalated a few days ago over Trump’s threats to shut down the federal government and targeted opponents in Congress.
The first impacts of the internal disputes between Trump and opposing members of Congress showed in the U.S. decision to cut nearly $ 100 million in military and economic aid to Egypt and delayed almost $ 200 million more in military financing.
“The delegation was visiting Egypt as part of a broader regional tour that focused on advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace and ending the standoff among Washington's Gulf partners. The aid decision, however, will force the delegation to address the U.S.-Egypt relationship rather than these other priorities,” the Esther K. Wagner Fellow at the Washington Institute Eric Trager said in his article published on Wednesday on the Washington Institute website.
“The ultimate impact of the aid decision is ambiguous, since most of the affected funds might ultimately be disbursed,” Eric stressed.
On Thursday night, Trump called President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to underscore the robust friendship relations between Egypt and the U.S., according to the Egyptian Presidency statement on August 25.
Trump confirmed his keenness on continuing to further advance relations between the two countries as well as overcoming any hurdles that might affect them.
The U.S. administration justified the decision to suspend aid by stating that Egypt has failed to progress in the field of human rights, referring to the recently approved non-governmental organization (NGO) law which restricts civil society, media outlets reported.
The U.S. decision leaked just hours before a high-level U.S. delegation including Trump's senior advisor Jared Kushner, Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell, and Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt landed in Cairo for a meeting with Sisi.
This is not the first time the U.S. takes any decision regarding the aid due to internal affairs, as in 2013 the former U.S. President Barak Obama suspended military and economic assistance to the Egyptian government in rejection to the ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, and later reissued it in 2015.
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