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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 December 2007, 15:20 GMT
Egypt accuses Israel over aid cut
By Heba Saleh
BBC News, Cairo

File pic of Hosni Mubarak
The Egyptian president blames Israel for the aid freeze
Egypt has accused Israel of interfering in its relations with the US by causing Congress to suspend $100m (50m) of its annual military aid.

The accusation came as Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak visited Egypt for talks with President Hosni Mubarak.

They were discussing how to stem the flow of smuggled weapons through tunnels under Egypt's border with Gaza.

Congress has frozen some of the aid while US officials check Egypt is making efforts to stop the smuggling.

A spokesman for the Egyptian president said Cairo was exerting every effort to stop weapons smuggling to Gaza but it could not, as he put it "guarantee 100% results".

'Terrible job'

Officials accompanying the Israeli defence minister to Egypt denied the accusations of interference.

A masked Palestinian descends into a tunnel dug near the separation barrier between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip on Monday 24 December 2007
Israel says Egypt is not doing enough to stop smugglers' tunnels

Tension between Egypt and Israel has been rising in recent days over the smuggling issue.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had said the Egyptians were doing what she described as a terrible job policing their border with Gaza.

Cairo accused her of speaking of matters she did not know about.

Egypt announced before Mr Barak's arrival that it had uncovered two more smugglers' tunnels.

But it is clear the Egyptians are angry the US Congressmen have ordered a freeze on $100m of aid until they are satisfied Cairo is doing all it can.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak arrives in Egypt

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