WASHINGTON — The United States gave Egypt $150 million in crucial economic assistance on Thursday to help the key US ally transition towards democracy following the overthrow of longtime president Hosni Mubarak.


"I am pleased to announce today that we will be reprogramming $150 million for Egypt to put ourselves in a position to support the transition there and assist with their economic recovery," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

The chief US diplomat added that William Burns, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, and David Lipton, a senior White House adviser on international economics, would travel to Egypt next week.

The pair will "consult with Egyptian counterparts on how we can most effectively deploy our assistance in line with their priorities," Clinton told reporters after a closed-door briefing with senators about Middle East unrest.

"We also discussed the lessons of the recent events in Egypt and the broader Middle East," she said.

"These events demonstrate why the United States must remain fully engaged around the world," she said, before repeating her warning that planned Republican cuts in foreign aid would harm US national security.