The United States is leaning toward withholding most military aid to Egypt except to promote counterterrorism, security in the Sinai Peninsula that borders Israel, and other such priorities, Reuters quoted a U.S. official as saying on Tuesday, Oct 8.
The official said U.S. President Barack Obama had not made a final decision on the issue, which has vexed U.S. officials as they balance a desire to be seen promoting democracy and rights with a desire to keep up some cooperation with Egypt's military.
The military on July 3 overthrew President Mohamed Morsi, who emerged from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement to become the country's first freely elected president last year after the February 2011 fall of longtime authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak.
Morsi supporters and security forces have repeatedly clashed since, including on Sunday, one of the bloodiest days since the military took power, with state media reporting 57 people dead.
After Morsi's ouster, the Obama administration said it would suspend about $585 million in military assistance to Egypt pending a wider policy review.
According to Reuters, the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration was now leaning toward continuing to withhold most of that, with the exceptions described above.
The official said the United States was also leaning toward continuing some economic aid to Egypt, but chiefly funds that go to nongovernmental groups rather than to the government itself.
A second U.S. official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said a decision on the aid was likely to be made public by the end of the week, although he noted that an announcement has been repeatedly postponed.
Egypt for decades has been among the largest recipients of U.S. military and economic aid because of its 1979 peace treaty with U.S. ally Israel, which agreed to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula it seized from Egypt in 1967 as a result of the pact.
The United States has long provided Egypt with about $1.55 billion in annual aid, including $1.3 billion in military assistance.