Anti-US protest in Cairo
Anti-American protests over a film deemed offensive to Islam, which have started in Cairo and spread across the Muslim world, have reportedly stalled negotiations to provide US economic assistance to Egypt, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.
According to the report, Egypt's "clumsy response" to the storming of the US Embassy in Cairo has resulted in the US temporarily halting talks about a proposed $1 billion in debt relief, top Washington officials told the newspaper.
- Anti-US riots rage in Egypt, Yemen
- Egyptians angry at film scale US embassy walls
- Egypt says US threats to cut aid won't work
One official hedged that "no new aid is likely to be approved for Egypt until after the US presidential election."
Mob scaling walls of US' Cairo embassy (Photo: AP)
They stressed that the delay will be temporary and that "there is no major reevaluation of US aid to Egypt."
"Folks are going to wait and see how things materialize both with the protests and on Capitol Hill," a congressional aide was quoted as saying.
The United States offers Egypt about $1.5 billion in annual aid funds, which represents crucial economic assistance to a Cairo, which – on top of the usual issues that plague it – is still reeling from the regime change brought about by the Arab Spring.
Washington considers Cairo an essential Arab partner – despite recent concerns about the new government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Following the riots, the House Foreign Affairs Committee called a hearing this week to examine US relations with Egypt, but later canceled it, after the State Department declined to provide witnesses, committee spokesman Steve Sutton said.
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