The Trump administration has released $195 million in military aid to Egypt, funds that had been previously withheld due to concerns over the country’s human rights record.
“Recognizing steps Egypt has taken over the last year in response to specific US concerns, and in the spirit of our efforts to further strengthen this partnership, the Administration has decided to allow Egypt to use the remaining $195 million in FY 2016 (foreign military financing) for military procurements,” a State Department official told CNN.
The administration decided last year to deny Egypt almost $100 million in aid and hold back another $195 million until it saw improvements in Cairo’s track record on human rights and democracy.
At the time the Egyptian Foreign Ministry labeled the decision a “misjudgment,” adding that it “regrets the decision.”
The State Department official said that while the US had been working closely with Egypt to resolve the issues in question, the US continues to be concerned, particularly with regard to laws on nongovernmental organizations.
“There remain areas of concern, and we will continue to make clear the need for progress in addressing them, including fully resolving 2013 NGO convictions and addressing our concerns about the NGO law,” the official said.
Egypt is the second largest recipient of foreign military financing, which provides grants and loans to allow American allies to purchase defense equipment.
The State Department sought $1.3 billion in foreign military financing for Egypt in its 2019 budget request.
The Egyptian military has sought US support as it battles a violent ISIS affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula.
Washington has given Cairo nearly $80 billion in military and economic assistance over the past 30 years.
CNN’s Nicole Gaouette contributed to this report.