The Obama White House said there would be no cut-off in U.S. aid to Egypt and it is still reviewing whether or not to label the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi by the military a coup.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday that Washington will not stop providing military aid to Egypt despite the overthrow of Morsi.
“This is a complex and difficult issue, with significant consequences,” Carney said.
“We think it would not be in the best interests of the United States” to change its aid program at this time, the spokesman said.
When asked if that would mean the White House would be cutting off aid in the near-term, Carney repeated, “We think that would not be in our best interests.”
Some American officials say the Obama administration wants to find a way to avoid labeling the Egyptian military’s action a coup in order to keep the military aid flowing.
Prominent Republican Senator John McCain said on Monday that U.S. aid to Egypt should be cut off in accordance with U.S. law.
“It is difficult for me to conclude that what happened was anything other than a coup in which the military played a decisive role,” McCain said.
According to U.S. law, financial assistance to any country whose elected head of state is deposed in a military coup is prohibited. The United States supplies about $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt.
Egypt, the second largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel, has received from the United States more than 70 billion dollars in military and economic aid since 1948.
Political experts have accused the U.S. government of a “double standard” in the ongoing crisis in Egypt and say that American aid to Egypt is aimed at forcing the Egyptian government to abide by the Camp David accords with Israel.
On Monday, shots were fired at Morsi supporters near the military building where he is being held, according to the Muslim Brotherhood. The group said at least 53 pro-Morsi protesters were killed in the incident.