August 19, 2013

Lawmakers split on issue of stopping aid to Egypt

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., says he would end aid to Egypt. Ellison is the first Muslim elected to Congress and is co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

File photo/The Associated Press

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Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., says curtailing aid could reduce U.S. influence over Egypt's interim government, which controls access to strategic resources, including the Suez Canal.

File photo/The Associated Press

Related headlines

EU DIPLOMATS WILL GATHER
TO ADDRESS CRISIS IN EGYPT

BRUSSELS — The European Union said Sunday it will “urgently review” its relations with Egypt, warning the authorities there that the people’s calls for democracy and fundamental rights “cannot be disregarded, much less be washed away in blood.”

In a rare joint foreign policy statement, the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council said it’s the responsibility of the Egyptian army and the interim government to end the violence and to embark on a political dialogue to swiftly restore democracy.

Top EU diplomats are gathering Monday morning in Brussels to discuss possible EU actions in response to the crisis in Egypt. The diplomats will lay the groundwork for an expected emergency meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers on Egypt later this week.

The 28-nation bloc is a major source of aid, loans, business and tourists for Egypt. The EU and its member states last year pledged a combined 5 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in loans and aid for Egypt, contingent on the progress toward democracy.

Besides the economic leverage, German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday floated the idea to halt previously approved arms shipments to Egypt as part of a coordinated EU response.

“In any case, arms exports can absolutely be subject to measures by which one makes it clear: We are very skeptical regarding what is happening in Egypt at the moment,” she told public broadcaster ZDF. “We will do everything to stop the violence.”

– The Associated Press

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said U.S. aid to Egypt was more likely to "buy a chateau in Paris" for an Egyptian military leader than "bread in Cairo" for the poor.

"I don't think we're buying any friendship with the Egyptian people," Paul said, especially when people see tanks supplied by the U.S. to the Egyptian military on the streets of Cairo.

"We are not winning the hearts and minds of the Egyptian people," said Paul, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "The aid has to end."

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., had resisted calls to cut off aid. But he switched positions Sunday.

"I think we need to look at the tiers of our aid," said Corker, top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "Let's face it, most of the aid has gone out the door this year."

Corker said he expects Congress to debate next year's aid this fall, after lawmakers return from their summer recess.

"Look, I condemn what's happened with the military, but I also condemn what in essence was a political coup by the Muslim Brotherhood," Corker said. "And we need to move this debate along and this fall, hopefully, again, focus on what is our national interests. And there still are things within Egypt that are very much in our national interest. And we need to keep the lines of communication open."

McCain spoke on CNN's "State of the Union," King and Paul spoke on "Fox News Sunday," Reed spoke on NBC's "Meet the Press" and Engel, Ellison and Corker spoke on ABC's "This Week."

-- The Washington Post contributed to this story

 

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