Leahy Says U.S. Aid To Egypt Will Depend On Stability

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(Host) Both of Vermont’s U-S senators cheered the revolution in Egypt.

But Senator Patrick Leahy says he’ll want to see calm return to the Middle East before he’ll consider more U-S aid.

VPR’s Ross Sneyd reports.

(Sneyd) Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy reflected the amazement that many people have been expressing at the turn of events in Egypt.

Senator Sanders calls Hosni Mubarak’s departure as president of Egypt "extraordinary news and a real testament to the incredible courage" of the Egyptian people.

That was also the message from Senator Leahy.

(Leahy) "Who would have predicted in a country like Egypt where mass demonstrations are controlled and stopped, where freedom of the press has been curtailed, this would go on this long and people would not give up even though individuals run out of money, even though they went to get back to work, even though they’d like to get the shops open and so on. They’ve kept it going."

(Sneyd) But, at the same time, Leahy says American leaders and voters need to take a sober look at what develops in Egypt in coming weeks.

Because he says the future could be unpredictable.

(Leahy) "Anytime that people really speak and get heard and do not get repressed I tyhink we’re better off. But I also think … it’s … important that we get stability as soon as possible because the United States has some vital interests there."

(Sneyd) Leahy is chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on foreign operations, which controls the billion-and-a-half dollars that flows to Egypt.

He says he won’t take up a new foreign aid bill to Egypt until he can be sure U-S interests will be protected by whatever government replaces Hosni Mubarak.

For VPR News, I’m Ross Sneyd


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