U.S. ACKNOWLEDGES CONCERN OVER EGYPT'S NO-DONG
- U.S. ACKNOWLEDGES CONCERN OVER EGYPT'S NO-DONG
WASHINGTON [MENL] -- For the first time, the Bush administration has publicly expressed concern over
the prospect that Egypt has developed a No-Dong-class intermediate-range missile with North Korean
Administration officials have acknowledged that the Egyptian No-Dong issue has become an issue
between Cairo and Washington as well as between the White House and Congress. The officials said the
State Department is taking the lead on the issue.
Assistant Secretary of State William Burns was asked about Egypt on Thursday during a hearing of the
House International Relations subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. The subject of the
hearing was U.S. policy toward the Palestinians.
But the subject was changed by Rep. Brad Sherman, a California Democrat. Sherman complained that
U.S. military aid to Egypt was unnecessary and directed by Cairo toward a military buildup against
Israel. Egypt obtains $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid a year and Sherman said that over the last
eight years, Cairo has spent $5 billion on a military buildup.
"Is this level of military spending something that we should encourage or subsidize, and what is the
state of talks between Egypt and North Korea regarding the acquisition of the No-Dong class missile
with an 800-mile range?" Sherman said. "And does it make sense for us to be providing money to Egypt
if they spend this fungible money on something like an 800-mile-range missile?"
Burns did not deny Sherman's assertion or plead ignorance. Instead, the assistant secretary
acknowledged the concern and urged Sherman to resume the exchange in closed session.