A U.S. Senator reportedly said on Monday that military aid to Egypt has been temporarily cut off, in a move that would mean the U.S. has “quietly” taken the decision following a week of deadly unrest in the country.
Senator Patrick Leahy told The Daily Beast it was his understanding that "aid to the Egyptian military has been halted, as required by law.”
According to the The Beast’s report, “the Obama administration has decided to temporarily suspend the disbursement of most direct military aid, the delivery of weapons to the Egyptian military, and some forms of economic aid to the Egyptian government while it conducts a broad review of the relationship."
The report did note however that officially, the $585 million of promised aid to the Egyptian military in 2013 is not on hold, as technically it is not due until Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.
In recent days, U.S. Senator John McCain, a Republican hawk and frequent critic of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, suggested Washington could pressure Egypt’s generals by cutting off aid, spare parts for U.S.-made military equipment and backing for an International Monetary Fund loan to relieve the country’s devastated economy.
“For us to sit by and watch this happen is a violation of everything that we stand for,” AFP quoted him as saying to “Fox News Sunday” in an interview.
Senator Rand Paul, a rising name in the Republican Party, also called for cutting off aid, saying “I don’t think we are buying any love of the Egyptian people when they see an American tank on the street.”
Another senator, the Democratic Richard Blumenthal said the administration should “condition our future aid on specific steps toward the rule of law and the return to democracy.”
“We shouldn’t cut off all aid. There are no good choices here. But of the two, there is more opportunity to protect American interests if we work with the military,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Obama last week canceled joint military exercises but has yet to suspend aid to Egypt, a key Middle East ally and one of just two Arab countries to have signed a peace treaty with Israel.
Washington has refused to call Mursi’s overthrow a “coup,” a prerequisite if it intends to cut the aid.
On Saturday, the Egyptian government gave new death toll figures that brought the number of dead in four days to 751.
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