The Biden administration has told Congress it will withhold $85 million in aid to Egypt over alleged human-rights abuses
Washington plans to withhold some of the foreign military aid allocated for Egypt and redirect it to other countries, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing sources close to the matter.
According to the outlet, the Biden administration has notified Congress that it will withhold $85 million in military aid from Egypt, which had been made conditional on the release of political prisoners. Instead, this money will reportedly be diverted to Taiwan and Lebanon, with $55 million going to Taipei and the other $30 million to Beirut.
The WSJ also claimed that some US lawmakers are pushing to withhold an additional $235 million in conditional assistance amid calls to punish Cairo for alleged human-rights abuses.
Last month, a group of 11 Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee called on US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to withhold the full $320 million of conditional aid for Cairo. They "acknowledged the historic, deeply rooted bilateral US-Egypt relationship," but said they were "strongly concerned" by reports about persistent and continued systemic violations of human rights in Egypt.
The conditional aid tied to Egypt's human-rights record is only a fraction of the overall $1.3 billion that the country receives each year from the US in the form of military financing.
CNN later reported, however, that the Biden administration had apparently said it would nevertheless allow Cairo to access $235 million. A senior US official reportedly told the outlet that Secretary of State Antony Blinken had "determined that it is in the US national security interest to waive certain human rights related conditions" and allow the money to go to Egypt.
Washington has continued to provide military support to Taipei amid growing tensions in the Taiwan Strait. Last month, the White House greenlit an unprecedented $80 million arms transfer to Taiwan under a program normally reserved for sovereign nations, in order to "strengthen" the island's self-defense capabilities. During the same month, the US also approved the sale of $500 million worth of modern equipment for Taiwan's US-designed F-16 fighter jets.
Washington's arms sales to Taiwan have outraged China, which considers the island an inalienable part of its territory and claims the right to retake the area by force if necessary. Beijing has insisted that foreign arms deals with Taiwan violate its One-China policy and constitute meddling in its domestic affairs.