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Senate panel approves aid to military governments

Press TV – December 19, 2013

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved a bill facilitating the provision of aid to countries ruled by post-coup military governments.

The bill would require the US government to determine when a democratically-elected government has been removed by force, Foreign Policy reported on Wednesday.

The Senate Committee passed the Egypt Assistance Reform Act by a 16-1 vote on Wednesday and the key supporters of the bill, Senators Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), say the congressional legislation would authorize the US administration to maintain ties with strategically important countries like Egypt even after military forces overthrow a democratically-elected government.

“This legislation reaffirms the enduring U.S. commitment to our partnership with the Egyptian government by authorizing continued assistance and endorsing the importance of ongoing cooperation,” said Menendez, the chairman of the Committee.

On July 3, Egypt’s powerful military ousted former Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi who was the country’s first democratically-elected head of state.

The administration of US President Barack Obama refused to call the military-led ouster of Morsi a coup because such acknowledgement would trigger an automatic congressional ban on the US aid to the Egyptian military.

Section 7008 of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Law prohibits aid to countries run by post-coup military governments.

Nevertheless, if the new bill makes it into law, the US government would not find itself in the same situation in the future because it is tasked with making a coup determination.

The bill, which was drafted in consultation with the White House, was criticized by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) who said, “Instead of holding the Egyptians accountable, this bill will make it easier for the US to send tanks and F-16 fighter jets to a country that suffers endemic violence against political opponents and religious minorities.”

December 19, 2013 - Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , ,

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