Spokesmen for Blinken and the State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent via email and text.
The United States gives Egypt $ 1.3 billion in military aid each year. Of that amount, Congress imposed human rights conditions of $ 300 million. But the secretary of state can override those conditions and let the aid go to Cairo, which has been the usual process.
The US official said the administration planned to give Egypt $ 170 million of the $ 300 million, but would withhold the remaining $ 130 million until the Egyptian government met conditions not specified in human rights.
The $ 170 million, however, can only be used for certain functions, such as counterterrorism, border security and non-proliferation – areas permitted under a certain provision of the statutes covering the aid.
The $ 130 million withheld is an amount obtained by the Biden administration due to certain limitations imposed by laws regarding funds.
President Joe Biden and Blinken, his chief diplomat, have said they are determined to promote human rights, even when it comes to allied countries ruled by dictators like Egypt’s Abdel Fattah Al- Yes Yes.
Several eminent Democratic lawmakers pushed the administration live up to this ideal and retain all of Egypt’s $ 300 million. They note that, among other things, Sisi has imprisoned tens of thousands of people for political reasons.
Among the most prominent voices urging Biden to withhold the full $ 300 million is Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). He recently told POLITICO that he would not be happy with a compromise like the one the Biden administration made.
” The law is the law. The law says you can’t provide that $ 300 million unless you can certify that there has been demonstrable progress in human rights. This progress has not been made, ”Murphy said at the time. “I’m also worried that half a measure will not make anyone happy. Egyptians will always feel like they’ve been slapped in the face, but the world won’t feel the full moral impact.
Sisi has found ways to be useful in the United States. This includes cooperation against terrorism and the maintenance of a cold peace with Israel. Earlier this year, Egypt helped negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas militant group in Gaza.
Sisi met Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday for talks in Sharm el-Sheikh, a seaside town on the Red Sea. It was the first public meeting between an Israeli and Egyptian leader for more than a decade, and that should appeal to Washington, which is eager to see relations between Israel and its neighbors improve.