Biden uses $130M in frozen Egypt aid to help Pacific Islands

Sep 30, 2022, 4:02 AM | Updated: 4:07 pm
President Joe Biden, third from left, speaks as he poses for photos with Pacific Island leaders on ...

President Joe Biden, third from left, speaks as he poses for photos with Pacific Island leaders on the North Portico of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022. From left, Micronesia President David Panuelo, Fiji Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Biden, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape, and Marshall Islands President David Kabua. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration will pay for $130 million in new climate initiatives for Pacific Island nations by reallocating money that had originally been earmarked for military assistance for Egypt but withheld because of concerns over human rights abuses.

The State Department said it planned to reprogram money allotted for Egypt to pay for the Pacific Islands in a Sept. 29 memo to Vice President Kamala Harris and congressional leaders that was obtained by The Associated Press on Friday.

President Joe Biden announced a plan Thursday for the U.S. to spend $810 million over the next decade — including $130 million for climate resilience programming — to assist the islands as he met with more than a dozen leaders from the region at the U.S.-Pacific Island Summit. The administration is looking to put greater focus on the Pacific Islands amid heightened concern about China’s growing military and economic influence in the region.

“Recent actions by the People’s of Republic of China in the Indo-Pacific have highlighted that increasing U.S. engagement and activity is an urgent priority with major impact on U.S. national interests,” the State Department notification said.

The money reprogrammed was a portion of $1.3 billion in foreign military financing allotted for Egypt in the 2020 budget. The administration froze $130 million in funding over Egypt’s failure to improve human rights conditions.

Congress has a rule that a portion of the annual funding — around $300 million — to Cairo should be conditioned on the Egyptian government upholding basic human rights conditions.

But the Biden administration, like past administrations, has used its authority to issue a waiver to that rule on national security grounds and allow much of the funding to be sent to the Egyptian government.

The White House deferred comment on the decision to reprogram the funding to the State Department. State officials did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Leaders from Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia and New Caledonia attended this week’s two-day summit, which included a dinner with Biden at the White House. Vanuatu and Nauru sent representatives, and Australia, New Zealand and the secretary-general of the Pacific Island Forum sent observers.

The summit came amid worrying signs to the U.S. that Beijing has grown its influence in the region. Earlier this year, the Solomon Islands signed a new security pact with Beijing.

The State Department pointed to concerns about Beijing’s increasing sway in explaining its decision to reprogram the funding originally meant for Egypt.

“As the recent signing of a new PRC-Solomon Islands security agreement demonstrates, we may be in the early stages of an historic shift in the Pacific that would usher in a new security paradigm — one that is unfavorable to U.S. security interests, will frustrate our ability to effectively compete with the PRC, and will impede implementation of the Indo-Pacific Strategy,” the memo said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

murders...
Associated Press

Appeals court upholds most Eyman campaign finance violations

A Washington state Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld most of the campaign finance violations that longtime anti-tax initiative promoter Tim Eyman was found liable for last year.
18 hours ago
A Washington State Department of Agriculture worker displays an Asian giant hornet taken from a nes...
Associated Press

No northern giant hornets found in 2022 in Washington state

Citizen trapping of northern giant hornets in northwest Washington ended Nov. 30 without any confirmed sightings of the hornets this year, state officials said Tuesday.
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Deep, 5.8 magnitude quake shakes Indonesia’s capital

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A strong and deep earthquake shook Indonesia’s capital and other parts of the main island Java on Thursday but there were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties. High-rises in Jakarta, the capital, swayed for several seconds and some ordered evacuations. The U.S. Geological Survey said the 5.8 magnitude earthquake […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Military personnel watch as Air Force One, with President Donald Trump, aboard prepares to d...
Associated Press

Boeing’s last 747 to roll out of Washington state factory

SEATTLE (AP) — After more than half a century, the last Boeing 747 rolled out of a Washington state factory on Tuesday. The 747 jumbo jet has taken on numerous roles — a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers, and the Air Force One presidential aircraft — since it debuted […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Jailed, former Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina attends his pre-trial hearing for alle...
Associated Press

Guatemalan court convicts ex-president of fraud, conspiracy

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — A court in Guatemala convicted former President Otto Pérez Molina and his vice president, Roxana Baldetti, on fraud and conspiracy counts Wednesday. Their sentences have yet to be announced. Both were acquitted of illegal enrichment charges. Pérez Molina and Baldetti resigned in 2015 and have been in custody on charges of […]
18 hours ago
Hywind Scotland, the world's first commercial wind farm using floating wind turbines, is visible of...
Associated Press

1st US floating offshore wind auction nets $757M in bids

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The first-ever U.S. auction of leases to develop commercial-scale floating wind farms in the deep waters off the West Coast attracted $757 million in winning bids Wednesday from mostly European companies, in a project watched by other regions and countries just getting their own plans for floating offshore wind started. The […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Biden uses $130M in frozen Egypt aid to help Pacific Islands