Congress rejects Egyptian request to unfreeze aid

Friday, July 20, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Senior US congressional leaders last week rebuffed an Egyptian attempt to convince them to not reduce American military aid to their nation.

Last month, the House of Representatives approved as part of its foreign aid bill a $200 million cut in military aid to Egypt, reducing the annual transfer from $1.3 billion to $1.1 billion.

The measure was a reaction to Egypt's ongoing failure to prevent the smuggling of advanced arms into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, as well as Cairo's foot-dragging in improving its human rights record and implementing democratic reforms.

Diplomatic sources told Ha'aretz that Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman were greeted coldly by both Republican and Democratic congressional leaders when they visited Washington earlier this month. The US representatives reportedly expressed their dissatisfaction with Egypt's performance in no uncertain terms.

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