WASHINGTON- U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan said on Thursday he backs continuing the $1.3 billion in annual military aid that Washington sends to Egypt, but that its human rights record makes it “more difficult” to support the Cairo government. “We give $1.3 billion a year to Egypt. I don’t think we should take that away,” Ryan said during a meeting with foreign policy reporters
at his U.S. Capitol office after a visit to Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region. He said he had raised the rights issue with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The aid package for Cairo has been in focus in Washington because of growing unease among both Ryan’s fellow Republicans and Democrats that Sisi’s government is exploiting security concerns to crack down on dissent.