The US State Department said on Monday that it condemns “all violence [in Egypt] regardless of the side it’s coming from,” but stalled on conveying whether the US intends to halt aid to Egypt, saying only that the matter was under review. At stake is over $1 billion in annual economic assistance.
“We have not made a policy decision to put a blanket hold on the economic support fund,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Monday during a briefing.
“That review is ongoing, and includes military assistance, security assistance and also includes economic assistance,” she added. “We are going to abide by legal obligations and will make adjustments as needed in the future.”
Psaki told reporters that the US “believe[s] any process moving forward needs to be inclusive and include all parties and all sides. That continues to be our public and private message.”
White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Monday that a “review is ongoing” of US aid, in “light of actions taken by the interim Egyptian government.”
Also on Monday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told reporters that the violence in Egypt “must end” but acknowledged that US “ability to influence the outcome in Egypt is limited.”
Hagel pointed to the Egyptian people, saying it “it will be their responsibility to sort this out,” when asked whether the US should freeze aid to the Mideast country.
Members of Congress have been split about whether to cut off military aid.
Last week, the US cancelled a joint military exercise with Egypt over the dawn crackdown on Wednesday of two sit-ins supportive of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi, the declaration of a nationwide state of emergency and a nighttime curfew. The bloodshed has since Wednesday claimed the lives of some 900 people.
“Our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual,” US President Barack Obama said of the cancelled exercise.
AP contributed to this report.