Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has asserted that the US military and economic aid programme to Egypt enhances the state’s efforts in facing security challenges and maintaining stability in the region.
Last month, the US decided to restore the $195m in military aid to Egypt, some of which was halted last year.
Shoukry had an intensive programme during his visit to Washington, which started earlier this week. He met with a number of top US officials, including US National Security Advisor John Bolton and members of the US Chamber of Commerce, as well as US writers, intellectuals, and researchers.
During his meeting with Bolton, Shoukry emphasised that the US is a significant partner to Egypt, noting that the US aid programme to his country serves the common interests of both countries. Therefore, according to the Foreign Ministry statement, “It is important to provide (Egypt) with all forms of support and protection and ensure that (the aid programme) will not be affected whatever happens.”
“Bolton stressed the US administration’s readiness to maintain the strategic relations with Egypt, saying that Egypt is playing a pivotal and essential role in maintaining security and stability in the Middle East,” read the statement.
They also discussed the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis, updates in Libya and Syria, and the future of the nuclear deal, as well as Egypt’s efforts in combating terrorism, particularly the comprehensive military operation launched last February and dubbed Sinai 2018.
Separately, Shoukry met with a number of US writers, intellectuals, and researchers to provide them with the latest updates in Egypt, including on the economic, political, security, and social levels.
Shoukry reviewed Egypt’s recent economic reform programme, the state’s efforts in encouraging foreign investment inside the country, increasing growth rates, and creating new job opportunities for the youth, which will lead to improving the standards of living for Egyptians.
Furthermore, Shoukry is also expected to meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during his visit, who previously assured in a phone call with his Egyptian counterpart that the upcoming period will witness “an increase” in US economic and military support to Egypt.
In August last year, the US government halted $95.7m in aid to Egypt and delayed a further $195m of aid over “human rights and democracy concerns.”
Since signing the Camp David peace accords in 1979, the United States has provided Egypt with large amounts of military assistance, as Egypt since then became the most important ally to the US in the Arab world.
Meanwhile, between 1946 and 2016, the US has provided Egypt with $78.3bn in bilateral foreign aid. Over the past two decades, US economic aid to Egypt has been reduced by over 90%, from $833m in fiscal year (FY) 1998 to a request of $75m for FY 2019, according to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service.