Egypt cancels Kushner meeting after denial of aid
CAIROEgypt called off a scheduled meeting between its foreign minister and top United States presidential adviser Jared Kushner on Aug. 23 after the United States decided to withhold millions of dollars in aid.
Two U.S. sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that Washington had decided to deny Egypt $95.7 million in aid and to delay a further $195 million because of its failure to make progress on respecting human rights and democratic norms.
“Egypt sees this measure as reflecting poor judgment of the strategic relationship that ties the two countries and as adopting a view that lacks an accurate understanding of the importance of supporting Egypt’s stability,” the foreign ministry said.
The decision could have "negative implications" on achieving common goals and interests between the two countries, it added.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry had been scheduled to meet the U.S. delegation led by Kushner yesterday in Cairo to discuss the Middle East.
But the meeting was canceled immediately after the ministry released its statement, a copy of Shoukry's schedule sent out to journalists showed.
A foreign ministry official told Reuters the meeting had been cancelled but did not give a reason. A U.S. embassy official in Cairo said Kushner's meeting with Shoukry had never been set in stone because "the schedule was never fixed."
A day earlier, Kushner met with leaders in Saudi Arabia and Qatar to discuss the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians, the state news agencies of the two Gulf countries said late on Aug. 22.
Kushner and the U.S. delegation met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, then flew to Doha to meet the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
Apart from efforts to end Israeli-Palestinian hostilities, the two sides also discussed encouraging “security, stability and Middle-Eastern-prosperity,” SPA said. Neither of the news agencies mentioned the months-old row between Riyadh and Doha, which has defied Kuwaiti and U.S. mediation efforts.
Bin Salman and the official talked about ways to achieve “a real and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians” and stability in the wider Middle East and beyond, the Saudi state news agency SPA said.