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Arab Spring aid: President Obama's budget asks for $800 million

The White House budget proposal asks for $800 million in aid for the Arab Spring countries.

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President Barack Obama asked Congress for $770 million in aid for the Arab Spring countries, as well as an additional $1.3 billion for Egypt, despite tensions over American democracy groups being targeted in Egypt. Protesters and police engaged in sporadic clashes as violence raged in early February. (MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama proposed that the Arab Spring countries that went through recent upheaval should get more than $800 million in economic aid in his budget message to Congress, according to Reuters.

Politico reported that the foreign aid request will amount to $770 million and be described as the “Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund” with the express purpose of aiding in democratic and economic reforms in the countries that went through recent political upheaval and revolution.

The fund would be part of the $51.6 billion set aside for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development, which as a whole only accounts for one percent of the government’s entire budget, according to the AFP.

Last year, Egypt and Tunisia received tens of millions of dollars after the overthrow of their leaders, said the AFP.

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The White House plan also asked for military aid to Egypt to be maintained at the same level as recent years, around $1.3 billion, despite the recent crisis of an Egyptian probe against American democracy activists, said Reuters.

The AFP reported that State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, “We do have concerns that if we can't resolve this situation it could have implications for the whole relationship with Egypt, including what we would like to do together and how we would like to support them.”

Obama’s budget proposal, which was released Monday, also sees cuts in many federal agencies including the Pentagon, which would receive $5 billion less than last year, for a total of $525 billion, according to Bloomberg.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120213/arab-spring-aid-president-obamas-budget-asks-800