Egypt cancels Kushner meeting after United States pulls $96mn of aid


Egypt cancels Kushner meeting after United States pulls $96mn of aid

The U.S. will not distribute $290 million in aid to Egypt over human rights concerns, a State Department official confirmed Tuesday.

Egypt's foreign minister on Wednesday, reportedly cancelled a meeting with Senior White House adviser and son-in-law to United States president Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, slated for later this week, after the USA said it would withhold aid to Egypt, Reuters reported.

The bulk of that sum - $195 million in foreign military financing - will be held in an account that can be accessed at any time, the official told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The Egyptian ministry said in a separate statement that Egypt regrets the US decision to reduce the aid funds and considered it "a misjudgment of the nature of the strategic relations that binds the two countries over decades, and reflects the lack of understanding of the importance of supporting the stability and success of Egypt".

Egypt is a vital USA ally, and Washington has provided the country with almost $80 billion in military and economic aid over the past 30 years.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has made a decision to suspend Dollars 65.7 million in military and Dollars 30 million in economic aid to Egypt, which has been blocked "on hold" from 2014.

When Trump met with el-Sissi in the White House in April he made no mention of Egypt's human rights record in the post-meeting statement, an omission that many took as a sign that the issue was not a priority for the administration.

The decision could have "negative implications" on achieving common goals and interests between the two countries, it added.

"We remain concerned about Egypt's lack of progress in key areas, including human rights and the new NGO law", the source said.

Egyptian rights activists have said they face the worst crackdown in their history under Sisi, accusing him of erasing freedoms won in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.