For the first time, congressional appropriators want the U.S. State Department to certify part of the defense assistance going to Egypt. The U.S. House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee approved the full Bush administration request for assistance to Egypt, the State Department reported this week: $1.7 billion in military aid and $415 million for economic assistance, in line with levels set in 1979 as part of the Camp David peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, making Egypt the second largest beneficiary of U.S. assistance after Israel. However, the statement said, appropriators asked the department to regularly “certify” $200 million of the defense assistance against Egypt’s progress on promoting democracy and human rights. A number of top Congress members have in recent years advocated transferring funds from military assistance for Egypt to democracy promotion in that country.
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