Report: Obama officials recommending that he suspend aid to Egypt

Top U.S. officials have recommended President Obama suspend a significant chunk of foreign aid to Egypt, according to The Associated Press.

Obama is weighing a plan that suspends all foreign military assistance except funding that helps provide security in the Sinai Peninsula and along Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip. Egypt receives some $1.3 billion in military assistance from the U.S. every year.

The U.S. has already suspended some military aid following the recent crackdown on protesters in Cairo, including delivery of F-16 jets and the cancellation of planned joint military exercises. Last month, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the administration was also considering a delay for a planned sale of Apache helicopters.

ADVERTISEMENT
A broader suspension of military aid would represent a significant shift in strategy. Earlier this summer, the administration purposely elected not to rule whether the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was a coup — a determination that would have automatically cut aid under U.S. law.

In an interview in late August with CNN, Obama said that "what we're doing right now is doing a full evaluation of the U.S.-Egyptian relationship."

"I think what most Americans would say is that we have to be very careful about being seen as aiding and abetting actions that we think run contrary to our values and our ideals," Obama said.

The president met with his national security team last month to discuss possible steps forward. According to the AP report, National Security Adviser Susan Rice has subsequently outlined the possible cuts to Egyptian assistance in meetings with lawmakers.

The president is not expected to make a final decision about whether to cut aid until later this month, after Congress votes on his request to authorize the use of military force in Syria.

White House National Security spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said Wednesday that the president "has not made a decision to suspend or terminate our assistance to Egypt beyond what the Administration has already announced."

"The national security team continues to review all of our assistance to Egypt," she added.

- This post was updated at 3:39 p.m.