From Sen. Tim Kaine’s office, I’m also “deeply troubled by the ongoing violence in Egypt,” I’m just not sure what we can do about it exactly. Also, if we cut off aid to Egypt, won’t the Saudis just replace it, as they’ve promised to do? And might we not lose whatever (little) leverage we have? On the other hand, how can we keep providing military aid to a government that slaughters its own people? Horrible choices all around…
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine today released the following statement calling for the U.S. government to immediately cease assistance to the Egyptian government as the Obama Administration and Congress conduct a thorough policy review:
“I continue to be deeply troubled by the ongoing violence in Egypt. I strongly urge a stop to the indiscriminate killing of innocent Egyptian civilians, the arrest of individuals based on political affiliation, the attacking of churches and places of worship, and the government’s imposition of a State of Emergency that denies Egyptian citizens the right to peacefully assemble and be granted due process under the law.
“I’m pleased the Administration is currently reviewing the United States assistance package to Egypt. The U.S.-Egypt assistance relationship is over three decades old, so an overall policy review is appropriate, and frankly overdue. As I was reminded during a recent visit to the region, our relationship with Egypt is both strategic and historic. Egypt has been a pillar of stability in the region for decades, maintained its peace treaty with Israel, and cooperated with the United States on key security and regional issues. But one thing is clear: the situation in Egypt has deteriorated rapidly and is now intolerable, and our assistance relationship must change. We can no longer conduct business as usual.
“Today I am calling on the U.S. government to immediately cease all assistance to the Egyptian government as we conduct a thorough policy review. This review will be done by the Administration with the full cooperation of Congress. My view is that no assistance should flow to the Egyptian government until the following conditions are met: 1) a clear commitment to hold democratic, credible elections that are free, fair, and transparent, consistent with international norms, and inclusive of all Egyptians; 2) political and religious freedoms of all Egyptians are protected, including women and religious minorities; 3) civil society is allowed to operate openly and freely; 4) all international agreements and treaties are upheld; and 5) counter terrorism and security cooperation continue, including securing the Sinai and countering smuggling into Gaza.
“I do not make this decision lightly. I understand the complexities and depth of our relationship with Egypt, especially with regard to our assistance package. I hope the democratic transition in Egypt gets back on track for the sake of the Egyptian people, the region, and United States interests. I look forward to working with the Administration on a thorough policy review.”