As Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., filibusters the Senate in an effort to block U.S. aid to Egypt because of its crackdown on non-governmental organizations, Muslim Brotherhood officials are, in turn, warning that cuts in aid could affect Cairo’s peace treaty with Israel.
Paul is holding up confirmation of a judicial nominee to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals until he gets a vote on legislation that would block aid until the White House certifies the Egyptian government is not “holding, detaining, prosecuting, harassing, or preventing the exit from Egypt” of American workers, the Los Angeles Times
"This is something we should make a clear and unequivocal statement about,” Paul said on the Senate floor, according to the Times. “The message needs to be louder and more firm. … We will not tolerate any country holding U.S. citizens as hostages.”
Some 16 Americans and 27 others linked to NGOs have been held for trial in Egypt on charges of using foreign funds to encourage unrest. Among the groups whose funds have been seized are the U.S. government-funded International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute, CNSNews
Top Muslim Brotherhood official Essam el-Erian has said that a cut in aid would violate the U.S.-brokered 1979 peace agreement with Israel and could lead to changes in the terms of the peace treaty, according to CNS.
U.S. legislators last year placed conditions on the $1.3 billion in military aid that Egypt receives. The conditions include evidence that the country is moving toward civilian government and free elections and guarantees of such rights as freedom of expression and religion.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman are among those who have warned the funds are in jeopardy, CNS reported.
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