MB Parliamentarians Reject US Aid to Egypt
|Sunday, June 17,2007 00:00|
"We reject the US aid and the US aid conditions", said the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc following US House decision of holding back a part of the US aid to Egypt.
The US House of Representatives passed last Tuesday, June, 13, 2007, a bill law that cuts US aid to Egypt to exercise pressure on it in order to improve its human rights record. A part of the military aid has been held back till Egypt achieves a progress in this regard .
The House Appropriations Committee approved a wide-ranging foreign aid bill for next year that would hold back $200 million in military funds for Egypt until the close U.S. ally takes steps to curb police abuses, reform its judicial system and stop weapons smuggling from Egypt to Gaza.
In all, Egypt will receive $1.3 billion of $4.5 billion allocated to all countries. The aid will help Cairo buy military equipment and fund military training from The United States. Add to this the US economic aid .
James Moran, a Virginia Democrat and senior member of the committee, said:" The $200 million cut is substantial, Our ally is not upholding the principles that define us ."
Rep. Nita Lowey, a New York Democrat who will steer the foreign aid bill through the House, said she hoped Egypt would quickly get the message from Congress and make progress on human rights matters before lawmakers finish work on the legislation later this year.
Egypt is one of the top recipients of U.S. aid and, under the House proposal, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would have to certify Egypt’s progress on human rights and weapons smuggling before the $200 million would be released.
Muslim Brotherhood Rejects US Aid To Egypt
For his part, Eng. Saad Al Husseini, the assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc, said: The MB bloc’s attitude towards the US aid is clear: we reject the US aid as a whole and the US aid conditions.
Al Husseini added in a statement Ikhwanweb that the general target of the US aid is achieving US interests regardless of the interests of the countries that receive this aid.
Al Husseini added that holding back a part of the US aid aims at exercising more US pressures against the Egyptian regime to give more concessions regarding some issues, definitely apart from issues of political reform and democratization.
Al Husseini pointed out that the biggest part of the US aid is supposed to be directed to serving military and strategic projects and restructuring the Egyptian economy and merging it into the international capitalist market, but the US allocators condition that the US aid be implemented by US companies, particularly inefficient and less competitive companies, and that a part of the aid program be given to the US experts in the currently implemented projects and in funding importing the US grain surplus and that the transportation must be through US means of transport.
Al Husseini pointed out that the obstacles the faced Egyptian exports in the US markets and not increasing the US direct investments to Egypt to more than one billion dollars has prevented Egypt from realizing the the required benefits of the US aid to the Egyptian economy.
Asked whether this is his own opinion or it si the MB bloc’s, Al Husseini said:" This is my personal opinion as the MB bloc’s assistant secretary-general, but there is a general consensus among MPS concerning this issue.
For his part, Hamdi Hassan, the spokesman of the MB parliamentary bloc, said:" The US aid was supposed to help the Egyptian economy achieve a technological leap in IT and chips industries. However, a considerable part of it was directed to supporting a limited group of businesses in the services sector, like tourism and limited food industries. They did not support Egypt in merging into the global economy in a way that addresses national interests of the Egyptian economy.
"For example, $4.7bln were allocated to health, family planning, agriculture and education services, in money which was spent in paying salaries, providing workplaces, means of transport and paying consultative services of US elements" Hassan added.
The US aid and the Egyptian economy:
The US aid to Egypt during the past thirty years are up to about thirty billion US dollars, of them Egypt received only a few in cash money, while The United States achieved with Egypt, during the same period, a trade surplus up to 45 billion US dollars. The value of the Egyptian exports to the United States were no more than 6.7 billion dollars, while the US exports to Egypt reached more than 55 billion dollars. The US aid program helped in opening the Egyptian market for the US commodities which were given preference despite their high prices in comparison to its Asian likes.
A report prepared by the Egyptian Ministry of Planning has revealed that about forty % of the US aid to Egypt during the last 26 years, the period covered by the report, up to 6.8 billion dollars out of 25 billion dollars go to US companies in importing commodities and services from America. What Egypt finally gets is no more than one third of the whole aid.
In the same context, a report issued by the USAID revealed that Egypt received, during the last 30 years, more than 28 billion dollars in development and defense aid, to be the second biggest foreign country receiving US foreign aid after Israel.
The report said that the Egyptians living conditions, appearance and clothes improved so much compared with the status 25 years ago due to this aid that helped in building schools, supporting democracy and improving methods of irrigation and supporting hospitals.
The USAID’s report added that the US aid has helped in transferring 40 thousand cars to be environment-friendly cars run with clean fuel, cleaning the Nile water resources, protecting coral reefs and islands in the Red Sea, in addition to protecting Egyptian monuments in Luxor and Cairo.
The report detailed projects that the agency contributed to funding, including increasing the electric power, replacing giant generators of energy in High Dam in Aswan, improving telecom lines, establishing more sewerage networks, providing people with drinking water and giving loans to small-project owners.
The report revealed also that Egypt received one billion dollars (6 billion pounds) from 2005 till mid 2006 for what it called "Supporting regime and democracy in Egypt" aiming at stabilizing the Egyptian regime. Washington gave, last year alone, 48 million dollars for this purpose.
It rejected to allocation, last year, any money for the infrastructure projects in Egypt while its allocations for this purpose reached 5.6 billion dollars during the period from 1979 till mid 2006.
It allocated 872 million dollars for health and birth control programs during the period from 1975 till mid 2006, while it allocated last year 25 million dollars for this purpose.
It also allocated only 9.11 million dollars for education during the period from 1975 till mid 2006, mostly given as rewards to a number of Egyptians and Americans who supervised amending the academic curricula in Egyptian schools to be in line with the US view towards Egyptian curricula.
The report shows also that the USAID allocated the biggest part for economic development in Egypt. It allocated 14.4 billion dollars for this purpose during the period from 1975 till mid 2006, while it allocated 344 million dollars for this purpose last year.
The USAID’s 2006 budget reached 9 billions dollars, of which Egypt receives about 2 billion dollars annually, including 1.3 defense aid and the remaining part is allocated to economic aid, while Israel receives more than 3 billions dollars annually from it.
Washington has directed a part of the cash aid to Egypt for funding some civil society organizations in Egypt in the field of democratic reform and freedoms.
It is worth mentioning that the USAID has been established in the era of US president John Kennedy, in 1961, under claims of encouraging economic development, improving public health and spreading democracy in developing countries.
Summary Of MB Performance In Egyptian Parliament Since 2005