Meeting between Egyptian foreign minister and Jared Kushner canceled: ministry

US to withhold up to $290 million in aid from Egypt

But President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi would meet the USA delegation led by Kushner later in the day as scheduled, Sisi's office said.

Two US sources told Reuters on Tuesday that US authorities would deny Egypt $95.7mn in aid and delay a further $195mn payment over its failure to make progress on respecting human rights and democratic norms.

In February, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson promised more aid for Cairo's counter-terrorism efforts and economic development plan during a meeting with Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Washington, However, President Donald Trump's proposed fiscal budget for 2018 includes cuts to foreign aid and other diplomatic initiatives, potentially affecting the aid programme to Egypt.

A foreign ministry official told Reuters the meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, had been cancelled but did not provide a reason.

"Strengthened security cooperation with Egypt is important to USA national security", said one source, adding that the U.S. secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, felt "it was in the interests of the U.S. to exercise the waiver".

An Egyptian foreign ministry statement said the move - which has not yet been announced - reflected "poor judgement".

The move denotes a serious reversal in policy towards Egypt, which has always been one of the biggest recipients of US economic and military aid, despite the country's track record on human rights.

Egypt is an important Mideast partner for the United States because of its control of the Suez Canal and its border with Israel.

"I would not say reports of difficulties with Egypt's human rights situation or its connection with North Korea are new", Satloff said.

One of the key issues concerning the said to be a new law that human rights charities claim will make it impossible for them to carry out their work in the country. The organization also urges Congress to attach stringent human rights conditions to the FY 2018 Egypt assistance package.



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