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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Egypt cancels foreign minister meeting with Kushner after denial of aid

But the Egyptian president will still be meeting the US delegation led by Jared Kushner, adviser to Donald Trump

Photo from May 21, 2017 shows US president Donald Trump at a bilateral meeting with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi in Riyadh. Egypt’s foreign ministry on August 23, 2017 cancelled a meeting with senior White House adviser Jared Kushner after Washington announced aid cuts and delays to Egypt. Evan Vucci/AP Photo
Photo from May 21, 2017 shows US president Donald Trump at a bilateral meeting with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El Sisi in Riyadh. Egypt’s foreign ministry on August 23, 2017 cancelled a meeting with senior White House adviser Jared Kushner after Washington announced aid cuts and delays to Egypt. Evan Vucci/AP Photo

Egypt called off a scheduled meeting between its foreign minister and top US presidential adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday after the United States decided to withhold millions of dollars in aid.

But president Abdel Fattah El Sisi would meet the US delegation led by Mr Kushner later in the day, the presidential office said.

Washington had decided to deny Egypt $95.7 million (Dh351.5m) in aid and to delay a further $195m because of its failure to make progress on respecting human rights and democratic norms, two US sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

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"Egypt sees this measure as reflecting poor judgment of the strategic relationship that ties the two countries over long decades and as adopting a view that lacks an accurate understanding of the importance of supporting Egypt's stability," the foreign ministry said.

The decision could have "negative implications" on achieving common goals and interests between the two countries, it added.

Foreign minister Sameh Shoukry had been scheduled to meet the US delegation led by Mr Kushner, a son-in-law to president Donald Trump and a close adviser, on Wednesday in Cairo to discuss the Middle East.

But the meeting was cancelled immediately after the ministry released its statement, a copy of Mr Shoukry's schedule sent out to journalists showed.

A foreign ministry official said the meeting had been cancelled but did not give a reason. A US embassy official in Cairo said Mr Kushner's meeting with Mr Shoukry had never been set in stone because "the schedule was never fixed".