US funded Egyptian pro-democracy movement: WikiLeaks

The cables suggest Egypt`s President was deeply sceptical of the US role.

Updated: Jan 29, 2011, 11:50 AM IST

Oslo: The United States has pumped tens of millions of dollars into pro-democracy organisations in Egypt to the dismay of beleaguered President Hosni Mubarak, according to diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and published by a Norwegian paper on Friday.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) planned to dedicate USD 66.5 million in 2008 and USD 75 million in 2009 to Egyptian programmes promoting democracy and good governance, according to a leaked cable from the US embassy in Cairo dated December 06, 2007.

"President Mubarak is deeply sceptical of the US role in democracy promotion," reads another embassy cable dated October 09, 2007, published by Norway`s paper of reference Aftenposten on its website.

"Nonetheless, (US government) programs are helping to establish democratic institutions and strengthen individual voices for change in Egypt," that cable adds.

According to Aftenposten, which has laid its hands on all of the more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables leaked to WikiLeaks, the United States has thus directly contributed to "building up the forces that oppose the President" Mubarak.

Egypt has since Tuesday been rocked by massive protests against Mubarak`s 30-year rule.

The second diplomatic cable published by Aftenposten says the money spent by the US for democracy promotion was aimed both at programmes run by the Egyptian government itself and by Egyptian and US NGOs working in the field.

Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation Fayza Aboulnaga had sent a letter to the embassy requesting that USAID stop financing 10 of the organisations "on the grounds that (they) have not been properly registered as NGOs" according to a third cable dated February 28, 2008.

Generally considered Mubarak`s designated successor, his son Gamal is also described in a fourth cable, dated October 20, 2008, as "irritable about direct US democracy and governance funding of Egyptian NGOs”.

Bureau Report