White House says U.S. aid to Egypt still under review
The White House said Tuesday the Obama administration had not cut off assistance to Egypt and that President Barack Obama and his national security team would discuss whether to continue or curtail the 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in annual aid.
Published reports suggesting the U.S. assistance to Egypt had been cut off were "not accurate," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said at a daily briefing.
Obama had directed his national security team to review the aid and assistance relationship with Egypt, but the review has not concluded yet, Earnest said, adding that providing foreign assistance was not like a spigot, or could be turned up and down like a faucet.
Obama will convene a meeting of his national security team on the issue Tuesday afternoon, but cautioned against anticipation of any major announcements to make in the immediate aftermath of the meeting.
Earlier in the day, the National Security Council also insisted that the Obama administration has made no final decision on halting assistance to Egypt.
"As the President has said, we are reviewing all of our assistance to Egypt. No policy decisions have been made at this point regarding the remaining assistance," its spokesperson said in the statement.
U.S. media reported late Monday that the administration had quietly ended some aid to Egypt.
A spokesman for Senator Patrick Leahy, who chairs the Senate's Subcommittee on the Department of State and Foreign Operations, told CNN on Monday that his office had been told that the aid to Egypt had been halted.
"As we noted yesterday, the State Department and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee was told that the transfer of military aid was stopped, that this is current practice, not necessarily official policy, and there is no indication of how long it will last," an aide to Leahy reiterated in a statement Tuesday.
A Pew poll released Monday show, 51 percent of Americans say it is better for the U.S. to cut off military aid to Egypt, while 26 percent of Americans prefer to continue the aid in order to maintain influence in the African country.