President Barack Obama proposed a $770 million aid package Monday for Arab countries undergoing democratic revolutions.
If approved, the “Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund” will incentivize long-term economic, political and trade reforms -- key pillars of stability -- by supporting governments that demonstrate a commitment to undergo meaningful change and empower their people.
The money is listed in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget (which starts this October) for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which is responsible for economic development and humanitarian assistance.
The aid package would be on top of the $1.3 billion in annual military funding that the U.S. already sends Egypt, which remained unchanged in the budget proposal.
After Egypt banned 19 employees from American non-governmental organizations from leaving the country and then charged them for illegally funding activists, a group of congressmen urged the White House to cut off aid to Egypt until the charges against NGO employees were dropped.
Egypt has done the opposite, doubling down on its allegations that international NGOs supplied funds to pro-democracy groups without the approval of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
“We do have concerns that if we can't resolve this situation it could have implications for the whole relationship with Egypt, including what we would like to do together and how we would like to support them, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, according to the AFP.
The new budget proposal is not unprecedented. The U.S. government sent nearly $100 million to Arab Spring countries in 2011, including $70 million that was sent through the NGOs working in Egypt.
The president has set aside a total of $51.6 billion in for total foreign aid and State Department funding.