US pledges $150 million to help Egypt's transition
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WASHINGTON Feb 17 (Reuters) - The United States will spend $150 million to assist Egypt's democratic transformation after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday.
"It's very clear that there's a great deal of work ahead to ensure an orderly, democratic transition. It's also clear that Egypt will be grappling with immediate and long-term economic challenges," Clinton told reporters after briefing lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
"I'm pleased to announce today we will be reprogramming $150 million for Egypt to put ourselves in a position to support the transition there and assist with their economic recovery," Clinton said.
The United States has urged Egypt's military rulers to push ahead with plans for democratic reforms that can ultimately lead to free and fair elections in the country, which under Mubarak was a longtime U.S. ally.
Clinton said Bill Burns, the under-secretary of State for political affairs, and David Lipton, a White House adviser on international economic affairs, would travel to Egypt next week to consult with various stakeholders on how too use the funds.
The United States has maintained a financial relationship with Egypt's military for a long time, providing about $1.3 billion in assistance per year.
President Barack Obama's budget request for the 2012 fiscal year kept Egypt's military assistance at this level, and U.S. officials hope this will help maintain U.S. influence with the military leaders who took charge of the country after Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11 following unprecedented political protests. (Reporting by Andrew Quinn; editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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