Despite President Obama’s assertion that Egypt is not America’s ally, Washington will continue sending millions in aid to the transitioning North African nation.
When asked by reporters today whether this week’s protests against the U.S. embassy in Cairo will impact how much assistance Egypt’s government will receive going forward, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “no.”
According to USAID data from fiscal year 2010, Washington directly gave Egypt nearly $53 million in assistance. Since then, that number has risen to roughly $2 billion annually. The events of this week, however, have caused some Republican lawmakers to question whether sending more money is a good idea.
Carney was also asked to clarify the president’s remark regarding U.S.-Egyptian relations.
According to a pool report, the spokesman told reporters that Obama was merely speaking in “diplomatic and legal terms.”
Here’s Carney’s full quote:
“No, the president, in diplomatic and legal terms, was speaking correctly. We do not have an alliance treaty with Egypt. Ally is a legal term of art. As I said, we do not have a mutual defense treaty with Egypt, like we do, for example, with our NATO allies. But as the president has said, Egypt is a long-standing and close partner of the United States and we have built on that foundation in supporting Egypt’s transition to democracy and working with the new government. Just last night, as you know, the president spoke with President Morsi and reviewed the strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt, while making clear our mutual obligations including the protection of diplomats.”
Earlier in the day, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said almost the exact same thing to Foreign Policy Magazine.
“Folks are reading way too much into this,” Vietor added.