U.S. says no decision made yet on halting aid to Egypt

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The United States has not yet made a decision to put a hold on aid to Egypt, the State Department said on Monday, adding that military, security and economic assistance is currently being reviewed, with adjustments being made “as needed.”

However, in the event of restrictions being enforced, U.S. funding for non-governmental entities in Egypt will not be affected, the State Department added.

Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urged Egypt’s military rulers to take an “inclusive” approach in governing after hundreds of supporters of ousted President Mohammad Mursi were killed by the country’s security forces, according to AFP.

While restating the U.S. government’s call for dialogue amid ongoing violence in Egypt, Hagel admitted that the United States has “limited” influence over the crisis-hit country.

“Our ability to influence the outcome in Egypt is limited,” said Hagel. “It's up to the Egyptian people.”

“The interim government of Egypt must get back to an inclusive approach to reconciliation in Egypt,” Hagel said during a joint press conference at the Pentagon with General Chang Wanquan, his Chinese counterpart.

When asked why the United States did not cut halt all aid to Egypt, Hagel said Washington had “serious interests” in the Middle East, including efforts to secure an Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Hagel has had over 15 phone conversations with General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s army chief, since the commander’s overthrow of Mursi.

However, Hagel and other top U.S. officials have not been able to push Egypt’s military leadership to avoid violence crackdowns on Mursi’s supporters, with more than 800 killed in the past few days

Despite cancelling a joint military exercise with Egypt, Obama has so far maintained U.S. military aid, which comes to $1.3 billion a year.

(With AFP)

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