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Obama wants to boost aid to Egypt quickly

DAVOS, Switzerland -- President Barack Obama plans to accelerate the pace of American aid to Egypt by redirecting non-urgent aid slated for other countries, a top U.S. diplomat said Wednesday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the annual World Economic Forum, Undersecretary of State Robert Hormats said Washington wants to provide more immediate benefits to the most populous Arab nation, which earlier this month conducted its first democratic elections in decades.

Besides redirecting some foreign aid, funding in the pipeline for long-term programs in Egypt would be shifted to quick-impact projects, Hormats said.

Related: Huge crowd gathers in Cairo

Congress approved $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt for the current fiscal year, but with conditions attached. It also approved $250 million in economic aid, as well as an "enterprise fund" of up to $60 million.

It was unclear whether the total amount of U.S. aid to Egypt would be increased.

"Whether it's an increase or whether it's reprioritizing existing assistance, we're still working this out," Hormats said.

Also, he said, the White House had not made any decisions and that he was providing Washington's "broad thinking" on the subject.

The United States wants to be seen as doing more to assist a hoped-for democratic evolution in Egypt, where the military still holds ultimate power on the first anniversary of protests that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, Hormats said.

Photos: One year on, Egyptians fill Tahrir Square again

In his State of the Union address Tuesday, Obama said the United States had a "huge stake in the outcome" of the revolutions that have swept the Arab world but offered no concrete proposals for additional assistance.

Retuers contributed to this report.

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