Obama proposed a fund of $770 million to boost political and other reforms in Arab countries undergoing pro-democracy revolutions. (Reuters)
By AL ARABIYA WITH AGENCIES
U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday proposed $1.3 billion in military aid for Egypt in fiscal 2013, asking Congress to maintain the annual aid level of recent years despite the ongoing crisis triggered by an Egyptian probe of American democracy activists.
Obama made the proposal in his budget plan for fiscal 2013 which begins on Oct. 1, the State Department said. The amounts must be approved by Congress, where some lawmakers have called for cutting off all aid to Egypt if it does not drop accusations against the American activists and lift the travel ban on them, according to Reuters.
Nineteen Americans were among 43 foreign and local activists banned from travel and referred to criminal court on accusations of working for organizations operating in Egypt without proper licenses and which had received foreign funds illegally.
Washington asked Egypt to lift the travel ban on the U.S. citizens, some of whom have taken refuge at the U.S. embassy. Both the White House and Congress have warned that the crackdown could threaten Cairo's $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the warning for 2012 remained in place, noting that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had to certify first whether Egypt is making progress toward democracy. Read more