US pledges US$150 million to help Egypt’s transition

Washington–The United States will spend US$150 million to assist Egypt's democratic transformation after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday.

"It's very clear that there's a great deal of work ahead to ensure an orderly, democratic transition. It's also clear that Egypt will be grappling with immediate and long-term economic challenges," Clinton told reporters after briefing lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

"I'm pleased to announce today we will be reprogramming US$150 million for Egypt to put ourselves in a position to support the transition there and assist with their economic recovery," Clinton said.

The United States has urged Egypt's military rulers to push ahead with plans for democratic reforms that can ultimately lead to free and fair elections in the country, which under Mubarak was a longtime US ally.

Clinton said Bill Burns, the under-secretary of State for political affairs, and David Lipton, a White House adviser on international economic affairs, would travel to Egypt next week to consult with various stakeholders on how to use the funds.

The United States has maintained a financial relationship with Egypt's military for a long time, providing about US$1.3 billion in assistance per year.

President Barack Obama's budget request for the 2012 fiscal year kept Egypt's military assistance at this level, and US officials hope this will help maintain US influence with the military leaders who took charge of the country after Mubarak stepped down on 11 February following unprecedented political protests. 

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