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Egyptians campaign to reject U.S. aid


16:41, July 26, 2013

CAIRO, July 25 (Xinhua) -- As the United States is still hesitant about its annual military aid to Egypt, a group of Egyptian activists launched a new campaign urging the government not to accept the aid any more.

"We don't want this aid. It violates our independence and harms our economy," said Mohamed Sharf, coordinator of the Against American Aid campaign launched on Friday.

U.S. President Barack Obama ordered the Pentagon to "review" a 1.3-billion-U.S. dollar annual military aid to Egypt after President Mohamed Morsi was ousted.

U.S. law bars aid to countries where there has been a military coup. However, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, "It would not be in the best interest for the United States to immediately change the assistance programs to Egypt."

U.S. politicians wanting to preserve ties with Egypt are looking for a way out, planning to offer aid to Egypt under the conditions that Cairo supports an inclusive political process and releases political prisoners.

In the meantime, many Egyptians stood up to voice their rejection to the aid.

People from various classes and areas were very positive to the Against American Aid campaign, Sharf said, noting "in less than one week we were able to collect nearly 130,000 signatures."

The campaign, consisting of people from liberal parties, has also been organizing seminars and exhibitions in different parts of Egypt to promote its aims.

While receiving the U.S. aids, Egypt cannot achieve the revolution aims nor independence completely, Sharf said.

He added they are going to use all peaceful means to carry their message to the Egyptian government and the legislative bodies when it's elected.

"Egypt is rich with resources and people and is not in need of this humiliating aid. We want to own our decision. We want to control our economy, we want to liberate our army and to be free from the U.S. influence," the campaign petition said.

The United States begun to provide Egypt with economic and military aid in 1979 when Cairo signed a peace treaty with Israel.

Some activists believe that despite the economic difficulties, cutting the U.S. aid will not have a severe impact on Egypt, especially after it received nearly 12 billion dollars from the Gulf countries.

However, Fakhry el-Fiky, economics professor, believes that the Egyptians should not deal with the issue in such an emotional way.

"In a new Egypt, we need after all to build strong relations with all the world countries including the United States," he said, adding that cutting the military aid may affect the army's abilities at the time.

El-Fiky suggested Egypt, for the time being, accept the conditions introduced by Washington for continuing with the aid, and negotiate to adjust the situation afterward.

"What we can ask for now is to replace the economic assistance which are now nearly 250 million dollars with establishing a free trade zone between Egypt and the United States. That will be more useful for the economy," he said.

He was sure that if the Egyptian economy went on the right track after a while, there would be no need for any aid from any one.

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