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Egypt - Feb 13, 2012 - 21:52

Last modified: 13 Feb 2012 18:52

The United States and Israel funded pro-democracy organisations to create chaos in Egypt, a government minister told prosecutors investigating NGOs, state media reported on Monday.

Fayza Aboulnaga, the minister of planning and international co-operation, testified to investigators in October that the uprising against ex-President Hosni Mubarak caught the US by surprise and "that was when the United States decided to use all its resources and instruments to contain the situation and push it in a direction that promotes American and also Israeli interests".

The state media article was reported by the AFP news agency.

In remarks on Monday, Aboulnaga said that the evidence in the probe showed "a clear desire and determination to abort any chance for Egypt to advance as a modern democratic nation".

Aboulnaga is one of only two cabinet ministers to have survived from Mubarak's regime. She is seen to be the driving force behind an investigation into numerous Egyptian and foreign pro-democracy NGOs that has led to the indictments of 43 people, including 19 Americans.

Aboulnaga has said the NGOs violated Egyptian law by illegally receiving funds, supporting groups for political reasons and never officially registering with the government. American analysts say Aboulnaga was angered when the United States, after Mubarak's fall, dispersed roughly $40 million directly to US and Egyptian NGOs rather than sending the money through the government.