Mubarak Fund aims to secure US aid to Egypt

Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Sameh Shoukry has stated that the purpose of establishing the Mubarak Trust Fund, a special endowment to be set up by the US government for Egypt, is to utilize American aid more effectively within a framework that ensures Egypt will continue to receive such aid in the future. The precise amount of the annual US endowment, now part of the US Foreign Appropriations Act for 2010, has yet to be determined.

At a two-day meeting with journalists, Shoukry announced that intensive talks will be held in the next two months to determine the exact amount of the annual fund, and how the money will be managed. The advantage of the trust fund, he stressed, was that it created a new aid model in which Egypt will receive a set amount of money every year rather than negotiating for funding in Congress on a yearly basis.

Under the new system, Egypt would contribute to the American aid fund, which would then be used to finance various projects. Shoukry expressed hope that the trust fund would be as large as possible, to alleviate concerns that the US might eventually cut off conditional economic aid to Egypt.

Shoukry added that various American newspapers such as the Washington Post, as well as members of the American Congress, have hinted that such a cutoff may be imminent. Egypt, in response, has asserted that the aid is not a gift, but rather part of an institutional relationship that serves both countries’ interest, with the US benefiting economically more than Egypt.

In other news, Shoukry has denied any intention of selling the Egyptian consular headquarters in San Francisco to Egyptian businessman Ahmad Ezz, secretary for organizational affairs of the ruling National Democratic Party. The ambassador said that the headquarters has not yet been put up for sale, explaining that an American real estate company would be hired to market and sell the property, and that anyone could purchase it.

Shoukry praised Egyptian-American relations on both political and economic levels, denying rumors that President Mubarak would soon visit Washington. The ambassador also announced that US Vice President Joe Biden would travel to Egypt next week to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with President Mubarak and the effect of the Freedom Flotilla incident on the future of peace negotiations.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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