The White House tried to beat back reports last night that it’s going to financially punish Egypt over the ouster of Mohamed Morsi and actions against the Muslim Brotherhood.
However, the Obama administration has held back about half of the $1.3 billion it would normally pay to Egypt.
“The reports that we are halting all military assistance to Egypt are false. We will announce the future of our assistance relationship with Egypt in the coming days, but as the President made clear at UNGA, that assistance relationship will continue,” National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said in a statement last night.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said at yesterday’s press briefing that “no decision” had been made on funding, but “the level of violence that we’ve seen by the interim government since July 3rd, that that’s exactly why this massive policy review has been undertaken, because business can’t continue as usual.”
“What we’re doing right now is taking a look at all of that and determining what makes sense going forward in terms of how we can best support the Egyptian people and help move Egypt towards – back towards a democratic process. That policy decision is going to take into account all of these various things that are going on right now. But I would underscore that that violence is exactly why we’re at this place today where we are talking about what our relationship will look like going forward from a very, sort of, 30,000-foot perspective,” Harf added.
The administration has been putting pressure on Egypt’s interim rulers since the July overthrow to hold snap elections and give the Muslim Brotherhood a place at the table.
Morsi remains in custody as do many of the leaders of the Brotherhood, and the MB has been banned from operating as an NGO by the country’s courts.
A panel amending the MB-drafted constitution to make it inclusive has promised to have the first draft available for review next week.
Morsi’s trial is set to begin Nov. 4. He and seven other Brotherhood leaders faces charge of killing and torturing protesters outside the presidential palace last December. The demonstrators were protesting against a Morsi decree that granted him sweeping new powers.
Egyptian Minister of Defence and army commander Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm that he attempted to resolve the political crisis sparked by the massive June 30 protest against Morsi’s rule, but the Muslim Brotherhood refused to negotiate.
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