Nuland said her statement was aimed at “laying down clear markers” for Egypt’s military rulers and that the full spectrum of Washington’s ties to Cairo could come under review, although she stressed that no decisions had been made.
The Obama administration in March formally released US$1.3 billion in military aid for Egypt despite Cairo’s failure to meet pro-democracy goals, saying US national security required continued military assistance.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waived congressional conditions imposed late last year that tied US aid to progress in Egypt’s transition to democracy following Mubarak’s ouster.
Egypt has received more than US$1 billion annually in US military aid for years and the Congress has also approved US$250 million in economic aid and up to US$60 million for an “enterprise fund” for this fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.
US Senator Patrick Leahy said in a letter last week that he had warned the State Department he did not want the money to keep flowing.
“I would not want to see the US government write checks for contracts with Egypt’s military under the present uncertain circumstances,” said Leahy, who wrote the new conditions for military aid.
Political analysts said the latest move by the Egyptian military had forced the US into a difficult position
“The United States has to decide if it wants to be associated with this counterrevolution by the military,” said Michele Dunne, director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. “They have to be asking themselves now whether waiving those conditions on the [military] aid was wise.”