U.S. spending bill restores aid to Egypt, includes $1.5 billion

An Egyptian army soldier stands guard in front of the state television building in CairoBy Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Congress’ new spending bill would restore more than $1.5 billion in military and economic aid to Egypt, which had been largely cut off after Egypt’s military ousted President Mohamed Mursi last summer. The bill includes up to $1.3 billion in military assistance, and $250 million in economic support for Cairo, but ties the funding to the Egyptian government taking steps toward restoring democracy. The funds also would only be available if the U.S. Secretary of State certifies to congressional appropriations committees that the Cairo government is sustaining its strategic relationship with the United States and meeting its obligations under the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty. The restoration of aid to Egypt could set a precedent for assistance to any country after a coup, despite differences of opinion between Mursi’s supporters and Egypt’s current government over what to call the military takeover.

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