Faiza Abou al-Naga
Cairo - Akram Ali
The Former Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Faiza Abou al-Naga, revealed that American organisations have spent $150 million on educational programmes of democratic transition in the period from February until May 2011. These organisations have had unknown goals, conducted illegal studies and television programmes that threaten the national security of Egypt. Moreover, there are recorded seminars conducted by these organisations against the police and the armed forces.
Faiza Abou Al-Naga said during her testimony in the case of "foreign funding" that these establishments organised training courses for the youth on how to demonstrate, insult the police and attack the institutions. She said: "As a minister, I have sworn the oath many times to protect my homeland and territorial integrity, and if time goes back I will do this several times and submit a report on the incident.”
Abou Al-Naga said that Egypt refrained from signing any agreements with America in 2008 and 2009. However, after his success in the elections, President Barack Obama sent his Secretary of State and requested the resumption and of US aid. The Secretary of State quoted Obama saying that only legal organisations will be funded and they will respect the Egyptian law. The resumption of the US aid was approved, but after a few months, we found out that these were just words without actions. However, before the elections the rate of the aids funding escalated.
Abou Al-Naga said that the conflict aggravated between the Egyptian administration and the US. The conflict reached its peak when $150 million was allocated for Egypt, provided that Egypt modifies the agreement of grants and development projects. However, Egypt refused to sign the special agreements concerning that programme, unless US President Barack Obama promised the return of the original programme and the US side threatened to stop the aid if the development projects did not return. The US Ambassador threatened to cut the aid, if the Egyptian government did not approve the new agreement.
She confirmed that the programme of economic aid was regulated through an agreement signed between Egypt and America within the framework of the Camp David agreement. The agreement was signed between the two parties in 1978 and stipulated that the US government is responsible for providing aid to the Egyptian government through diplomatic methods. She added that at the beginning the aid was $815 million and this funding takes place until now. In 2004, the US Congress made a decision to provide direct funding without the requirement that was in effect; as funding required the agreement of the two governments. America will provide direct funding to civil society organisations based on a proposal by one of the members of the congress. However, the Egyptian government objected and considered this contrary to the provisions of the legal agreement. Lengthy negotiations took place between the two governments; represented by the Egyptian Ministry of International Cooperation and US officials. At the end of the negotiations, part of the funding was allowed for NGOs.
She continued: “The Egyptian government in 2006 has allowed parts of the funding to civil society organisations for a special programme in democracy and to encourage the community to awareness programmes — provided that the funding will only be for civil societies and organizations that are registered and licensed. Afterwards, it turned out that the US had hidden from the Egyptian side the details of the activities that are funded. The Ministry of Social Solidarity inquired about some organisations and found out that they are not registered.”
She pointed out the Egyptian side agreed to reduce economic aid by 5% for 10 years in order to reach 50% at the end of ten years. In 2008, the administration of US President took a decision that contradicted with the agreement to reduce the economic aid by 50% and make it $200 million. The Egyptians objected and decided not to sign any agreements with the US government. The objection has been reviewed by the former President Hosni Mubarak in the memorandum that recommends the rejection of the unilateral decision. They replied that the Egyptian government does not deny that it has benefited in part from the programme in several projects, such as repairing phones networks, sewer and water etc. The US Appropriations Committee found out that Egypt is the second largest beneficiary after Israel.
Abou Al-Naga said that America was getting 80 cents for every dollar it regains, and that after 30 years economic change will occur between the Egyptian and American side. She completed her testimony and said that the former Egyptian president approved these agreements that stipulated the aid will be a deposit to pay the debts. After two meetings that continued for four hours each, it was clear that Egypt must dispose the foreign aid because the development aid provided by America is official aid; from state to another or from government to another. A fund was established to put the Egyptian pound for every dollar to repay the debt and dispose the aid programmes.
As the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation pointed out that the after former president stepped down from power and after the events of January, the US Secretary of State, other officials and the US Embassy unilaterally announced that they will allocate $150 million from the programme of the previous grants to fund organisations. These funds were allocated for financing health and education projects and other projects. However, Egypt objected and rejected, but they insisted and said: “You are a transitional government and we will discuss things with the next government.”
She confirmed that the former regime did not have any problems regarding funding civil society organisations and there were 30 thousand more that need funding, the Attorney General was informed about the source of any foreign funding.
The Judge decided during the session to prevent photographers and cameras from entering the hall to cover the meeting and to prevent them from taking photos for Faiza Abou Al-Naga. He also confirmed that if any person was caught using his mobile phone to take photos of the minister, his mobile will be seized. The session was held under the chairmanship of the Adviser, Makram Awad and at the presence of the advisers, Subhi Al-Laban and Ihab Abdel-Hamid, Head of the Court.