WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) -- The White House says cutting off aid immediately to Egypt "would not be in the best interests of the United States."
White House press secretary Jay Carney says the U.S. is still reviewing whether the Egyptian military's ouster of President Mohammed Morsi should be labeled a coup d'etat. Under U.S. law, that would force the U.S. to stop sending aid to Egypt.
White House press secretary Jay Carney gestures during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, June 24, 2013. Carney said the U.S. assumes that Edward Snowden is now in Russia and that the White House now expects Russian authorities to look at all the options available to them to expel Snowden to face charges in the U.S. for releasing secret surveillance information. Credit: AP
Carney says the issue is complex and difficult. He says the U.S. is reviewing its obligations under the law and will consult with Congress. He says the decision about what to call Morsi's ouster will be in line with U.S. policy objectives. He says the U.S. isn't supporting any side in the conflict but wants a democratic process.
"We need to be mindful of our objective here, which is to assist the Egyptian people in their transition to democracy and" protect U.S. national security interests, Carney said, according to the Washington Times.
TheBlaze's Sharona Schwartz last week laid out the implications of the White House labeling what happened in Egypt as a military coup:
Should [the White House] define the events of Wednesday evening as a “military coup”? That’s important, because under U.S. law, the government is not permitted to provide financial aid to a country where the military has overthrown a democratically-elected government.
Boris Zilberman, deputy director of congressional relations at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies explains how defining the events as a coup could lead to the suspension of U.S. aid [emphasis added]:
"According to Section 7008 of the FY2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 112-74), aid administered by the State Department and USAID is banned to the government of any country where a military coup or decree has overthrown a democratically-elected government.[…]
In President Obama’s FY14 budget request, Egypt is slated to receive $1.3 billion in military aid, known as Foreign Military Financing (FMF). FMF is administered by the State Department’s Office of Plans, Policy and Analysis. Egypt is also slated to receive $250 million in economic aid, which is administered by USAID. The full $1.55 billion in FY14 could be subject to section 7008."
Zilberman provides the relevant wording for Section 7008, which prohibits “any assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’etat or decree or… in which the military plays a decisive role.
Featured image via AP