Mideast Allies Take Big Slice of U.S. Aid Budget

(Reuters) Washington's allies in the Middle East can expect about $5.44 billion in U.S. bilateral aid in fiscal year 2004, slightly down from $5.49 billion in 2003, according to the Bush administration's budget request released on Monday. Israel is to receive $2.16 billion in foreign military assistance and $480 million in economic support funds, for a total of $2.64 billion against $2.90 billion in 2003. The budget request does not include an additional $4 billion in grants and $8-10 billion in loan guarantees currently being discussed. Egypt is to receive $575 million in economic support funds and $1.3 billion in military assistance, for a total of $1.875 billion. Economic aid has been in gradual decline, from $655 million in 2002 to $615 million in 2003. Jordanian can expect $459 million from Washington in 2004, which maintains the level of economic aid and raises military assistance from $198 million to $206 million. Turkey is allocated $200 million in economic aid and $50 million in military aid in the new budget. Amounts for other Middle East countries include $32 million for Lebanon, $30 million for Yemen, $25 million each for Oman and Bahrain, $15 million for Morocco, and $10 million for Tunisia.

2003-02-07 00:00:00

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