Gulf support deals blow to Western aid threats: experts

Financial assistance bound for Egypt from several Gulf states has dealt a blow to threats by the United States and Europe to halt aid to Egypt, economic experts said.

Hossam Nasser, a former adviser at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, said financial aid which the U.S. and EU are considering halting is too small to pose a threat.

“Europeans and Americans have spent a lot on the Brotherhood regime to carry out their plot, before the people and the army intervened in time," Nasser claimed. “Arab aid represents an open credit line for the local economy, and a message to Europeans and Americans that Egypt will not yield to their pressures."

U.S. and European aid to Egypt did not exceed US$2.5 billion, said Fakhry al-Fiqqi, a professor of economics at Cairo University. That figure, he explained, include US$450 million from the EU and US$1.55 billion from the United States.

“American aid is linked to the peace treaty with Israel, and cancelling it requires a Congress bill. If that happens, Egypt may withdraw from the peace treaty. America has many calculations to make before taking such a decision," Fiqqi argued.

Egypt had obtained nearly US$26 billion from Gulf states since 25 January 2011, including US$12 billion after the 30 June revolt alone, Fiqqi said. He believes the solidarity expressed by countries like Suadi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates constitutes a warning to the EU and the U.S., particularly considering those countries are home to several key American and European interests.

Bassant Fahmy, a banking expert, said aid from Arab states could not to be compared to that pledged by the West, arguing that Arabs supply Egypt lavishly and in good timing, while the West adopts a method of bargaining with more "humble" assistance.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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