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US State Department discusses Egypt aid, condemns violence - Daily News Egypt

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US State Department discusses Egypt aid, condemns violence

Decision to suspend military and financial aid still undecided

US State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki
US State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki

The United States denied a Sunday New York Times article that said the US would withhold aid, saying on Monday that it has not yet come to a decision regarding the roughly $585 million in remaining military aid available to Egypt in the 2013 fiscal year.

According to State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, $650 million of the US’s annual $1.23 billion Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to Egypt has already been allocated, but a possible veto of the dispensed funds could still occur under Section 7008: the US law that restricts giving aid to a government formed by a military coup.

It has been the US’s policy not to determine whether a coup took place in Egypt, which the State Department said fulfils its legal obligations while addressing national security interests.

“…We also talked about how there are national security interests, there are interests related to regional stability, and we fully believe that Egypt can return through a rocky path to a sustainable democracy,” said Psaki. “And there is an implication by naming one side or the other that you’re taking sides, and that has been a policy priority for us not to do that.”

The US also maintains a $250 million Economic Support Fund (ESF) which gives aid to a variety of non-military governmental and nongovernmental organizations. While it is possible that military and other government aid may be affected, Psaki said that funding to NGO’s and humanitarian programmes would remain intact.

“Broadly speaking, funding that goes to nongovernmental entities in Egypt would not be affected, regardless of whether the restrictions were triggered, and is being continued. Programmes with the government designed to promote free and fair elections, health assistance, programmes for the environment, democracy, rule of law, and good governance can also continue in cases even where a legal restriction might apply.”

Psaki also affirmed the US government’s opposition to a dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood by Egyptian government.

“As we’ve consistently said from the beginning, we believe any process moving forward needs to be inclusive and include all parties and sides,” said Psaki.  “That continues to be our public and private message.”

The US also strongly condemned the recent killing of 25 CSF officers in Sinai, the attacks against over 40 Coptic churches and the “suspicious deaths of Muslim Brotherhood prisoners in a purported prison escape attempt near Cairo.”

“We, again, urge all those in Egypt to refrain from violence… We call on all Egypt’s leaders and the international community to condemn such attacks without equivocation,” said Psaki.

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