Trump budget slashes Middle East aid by 80%

Proposals unveiled on Tuesday would cut aid to MENA countries by $850 million
Trump budget slashes Middle East aid by 80%
(Getty Images)
By Sarah Townsend
Thu 25 May 2017 10:55 AM

US President Donald Trump is proposing deep cuts in financial aid to Arab states as part of budget proposals this week.

The proposed budget for 2018, unveiled on May 23, moved to slash its foreign aid budget for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by 80 percent compared to the fiscal year 2016 – a total of around $850 million.

This includes cutting economic and security assistance for vulnerable countries such as Tunisia, Lebanon and Egypt, with some countries losing military aid entirely.

Currently, less than 1 percent of the US’ budget is spent on foreign aid. However, the Trump administration is continuing to work to its policy of putting “America First”.

Secretary of state Rex Tillerson said in a statement: “This year’s budget request addresses the challenges to American leadership abroad and the importance of defending our national security interests.

“It acknowledges that US diplomacy engagement and aid programs must be more efficient and more effective, and that advancing our national security, our economic interests, and our values will remain our primary mission.”

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