Thursday, 15 March 2012

Egypt: US signals rapprochement after NGO standoff

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged other countries to support Egypt by giving it aid. “The international community must provide strong support for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to quickly conclude an economic reform and stabilisation programme with Egypt,” Mrs Clinton told the UN Security Council. “We call on Egypt's friends in the region and around the world to be prepared to use bilateral assistance to reinforce an IMF programme with Egypt.”

This appeal - yet to be translated into action in terms of dollars pledged and given - is the clearest sign yet that for its part the US administration is trying to put behind it the tensions over the Egyptian decision to prosecute NGO workers including 16 Americans. Another sign is the two-day visit to Cairo by the director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt Gen Ronald Burgess.

For her part, the Egyptian at the centre of the row with the US, Planning and International Cooperation Minister Fayza Aboul Naga showed no sign of any thawing of hostility towards Washington. She dismissed US aid to Egypt as a trifling US$250 million which Egypt could get along without. Mrs Aboul Naga has long been an irritant to NGOs in Egypt who accuse her of citing sovereignty in defence of her opposition to any scrutiny by Egyptians or others of the finances of the regime and its beneficiaries.

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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