(WASHINGTON) — The State Department on Tuesday denied reports that the U.S. has suspended military aid to Egypt, even as the White House comes under withering criticism for not taking a stronger stand against the interim government’s deadly crackdown on demonstrators.
Meanwhile, no decision was reached by President Obama and his advisers later in the day on what step to take next.
At an earlier press briefing, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters, “We have not made a policy decision to suspend all of our aid to Egypt, period. Any reports to the contrary are simply false.”
On Monday, an aide to Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy released a statement suggesting that the Obama administration had decided to suspend most aid to Egypt’s military.
However, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Tuesday that the president and his advisers were reviewing the situation, but there has been no decision yet on halting the $1.3 billion aid package, which the U.S. still considers vital to its national interests in the region.
As it stands, more than half of assistance earmarked for 2013 is already in Egypt’s account, although it can still be frozen by the administration.
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James Griffiths and Shen Lu