Hague urges EU not to stop humanitarian aid to Egypt

UK foreign secretary William Hague has joined a number of European counterparts in urging the EU not to stop giving humanitarian aid to Egypt.

Speaking in Brussels at a meeting of foreign ministers to discuss the continuation of a €5bn (£4.26bn) aid package for Egypt, Hague said that most Egyptians wanted democracy "so we mustn't do anything that hurts them or that cuts off support to them".

The €5bn aid consists of €1bn from the EU directly, and €4bn from European Investment Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Most of this has been frozen over concerns of corruption.

This year, just €16m of the €1bn earmarked for Egypt for the 2007 to 2013 period has been paid.

This comes as violence grips the country, with clashes between security forces and supporters of deposed president Mohammed Morsi leaving more than 900 dead. The EU’s top foreign policy official Catherine Ashton has offered to return to the country to help mediate a political solution to the crisis.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have pledged around $12bn in aid (not only humanitarian) to Egypt since the army overthrew Morsi in July.

Speaking a few days ago, Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal was quoted by the official Saudi news agency as saying:

I confirm to everyone, the Saudi Kingdom leaders, government and nation has stood and will forever stand with Egypt and the Arab community will not allow ever to have their fate manipulated or their security and stability tampered with. As for those who announced that they will stop their support to Egypt or threatened to stop it, for the Arab and Muslim world is rich with its people and capabilities and will not hesitate to offer a helping hand to Egypt.