U.S. to release $1.2 billion in military aid to Egypt

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has authorized the release of $1.2 billion in U.S. military assistance to Egypt, despite human rights concerns that have held up previous funding.

The State Department said Friday it is notifying Congress that Pompeo has signed national security waivers allowing the money known as foreign military financing, or FMF, to be spent. Congress has 15 days to weigh in on the waivers, which were signed on Aug. 21 but not previously made public. It was not immediately clear why there was a delay in the notification. The money includes $1 billion for the current 2018 budget year and $195 million appropriated for 2017 that would have had to have been returned to the Treasury had it not been spent by Sept. 30.

In July, Pompeo had lifted a hold on another $195 million in FMF that Congress had approved for budget year 2016 but which former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had frozen due to the continuing human rights issues.

The department said Friday the Trump administration still had “serious concerns about the human rights situation in Egypt” and would continue to raise those concerns with senior Egyptian officials.

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