The United States Senate subcommittee has proposed a bill that would see $1.3bn of military assistance split into four sections, with conditions placed on 75% of the aid.
The US Senate Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs submitted its proposal for the Foreign Operations Bill for fiscal year 2014 on Tuesday, which includes financial assistance to Egypt.
Senator Lindsey Graham, the ranking Republican member of the committee, stressed during the subcommittee’s meeting on Tuesday that the US wants to maintain “a good relationship with Egypt” adding: “we cannot ignore what happened by the military.”
Graham praised the approach of the proposed bill, which he said “would bring the best out of the Egyptian people.” He said: “we don’t want a failed state in Egypt or a radical Islamic nation,” believing that these scenarios can be avoided by continuing to engage with the military and the people of Egypt, “but on our terms, not theirs.”
The proposed bill will provide “$250m in economic and $1.3bn in military assistance,” as per President Barack Obama’s request. The subcommittee proposed the military assistance be split into four equal portions and be “subject to certifications by the Secretary of State [John Kerry].”
The first 25% will be “provided immediately”, while the second is on the condition “that the government of Egypt is supporting inclusive political processes and releasing political prisoners.” The US recently called for the release of political prisoners, including former president Mohamed Morsi. The bill allows for a “national security waiver” of this condition.
The third portion meanwhile “is conditioned on a democratic election and a new government being in place.” The national security waiver is also available for this condition. The fourth has no waiver available and is dependent on “the newly elected government governing democratically and taking steps to protect the rights of women and religious minorities.”
The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations is expected to meet on Thursday morning in a hearing entitled Crisis in Egypt.
The status of aid is still subject to the US administration’s definition of the events that led to Morsi’s ouster on 3 July. Under US law, funding to Egypt should be cut if the White House believes that Morsi was toppled by a military coup.
Kerry spoke to both Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy and Vice-President Mohamed ElBaradei by telephone on Monday, said State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki.
In his conversations with Fahmy and ElBaradei, Kerry “expressed concerns about the level arrests and a crackdown on the media, and they agreed to be in touch throughout the transition process.” Kerry also stressed: “those who have been detained should be treated with due process and with respect for the rule of law.” Psaki asserted that this includes Morsi.