Friday, February 18, 2011

U.S. Antes Up $150M for Egypt Democracy, Economy

We are expecting to hear more details about the $150 million in new U.S. aid for Egypt announced Thursday by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The money is expected to be used for Egypt's political transition and battered economy.

Clinton is Under Secretary of State William Burns and Senior White House Economic Advisor David Lipton to Egypt next week to “consult with Egyptian counterparts about how we can most effectively deploy our assistance," she said.

The cost of building democratic institutions, like political parties, will be hefty.

"The message is, give Egyptians the ability to eat bread while they focus on the democratic future," Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told David Ignatius of The Washington Post.

Gheit, who is old school when it comes to handouts from the U.S., believes Washington should either write off Egypt's $350 million annual debt or provide $1 billion in emergency economic aid.

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