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Egypt's military seeks to bolster ties with US amid tensions over raids on NGOs

Cairo, Mon, 30 Jan 2012 ANI

Cairo, Jan 30(ANI): A delegation of senior Egyptian generals has arrived in Washington to mend rifts with the U.S., after relations between both sides hit a new low due an Egyptian government raid on pro-democracy and human-rights groups and travel bans imposed on several American employees.


The US Congress has also warned of slashing the 1.3 billion dollar annual military aid to Egypt as its response to the move.


The Egyptian delegation will hold meetings at the State Department and Pentagon in the presence of Congress members to likely discuss raids and travel bans issue.


They added the State Department would clarify that U.S. financial assistance to Egypt could be cut if no more progress is made on democratic reforms in coming months.


"This isn't something we want to see happen. But the Egyptians need to understand that there are certain requirements they need to meet in order to placate Capitol Hill," The Wall Street Journal quoted an official, as saying.


The raids on the nongovernmental organizations were part of an investigation commissioned by Minister of International Cooperation Fayza Abul Naga into foreign funding of NGOs.


Naga has supported a drastic restructuring of Western aid to Egypt, and has criticised the U.S. for attempting attempts to dole out funds directly to human-rights and pro-democracy groups critical of the government.


Western diplomats speculate that a body resembling an international coalition has been formed in Cairo to oppose Naga.


"It is meant to be a loud and clear, totally consistent international message that what she is doing is terrible for Egypt. We would like to offer a solution which would entail working with her and the Egyptian authorities to offer our experience of how to form a legal framework for working effectively with the NGO community," a senior Western diplomat said. (ANI)


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