Saudi Arabia says it will cover cuts to Egypt aid

Saudi Arabia said Monday that Arab and Islamic countries are ready to step in if the United States or any other country cuts aid to Egypt in the wake of the military crackdown on protesters in the nation.

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Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud al-Faisal said that his country and others would “provide a helping hand” to Egypt if aid is withheld.

“Concerning those who announced stopping their assistance to Egypt or [are] threatening to stop [it], the Arab and Islamic nation is rich with its people and capabilities and will provide a helping hand to Egypt," al-Faisal said, according to the SPA state news agency.

There's been increased pressure on the Obama administration to suspend its $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt after the Egyptian military cracked down on protesters last week in clashes that left hundreds dead.

A diverse group of senators, including Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), have said that aid must be suspended under U.S. law because a coup occurred in Egypt. The recent violence has prompted several more lawmakers to support a suspension of aid.

Those hesitant to cut off assistance argue that the United States should not do so because it will lose any influence it still has in Egypt.

“No, I don't. I think it's a time to see what the next step should be," Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" when asked about suspending aid. 

"Obviously, we cannot let what's been happening just happen, but I think we have to be careful and not cut off our nose to spite our face," he said.

The Obama administration has canceled joint military exercises and delayed the delivery of four F-16s to Egypt. The Washington Post reported Sunday that the administration was considering halting the delivery of new Apache helicopters. But the administration has opted not to label the events in Egypt a coup and suspend overall military aid to the country.

Al-Faisal, who was meeting with French President François Hollande in Paris, argued that no coup had in fact taken place in Egypt.

“The uprising of 30 million Egyptians cannot in any way be described as a military coup, as military coups take place under the cover of darkness,” he said, according to SPA.

“All countries that take such negative attitudes toward Egypt should know that the blaze and ruin will not be limited to Egypt alone, but they will be reflected on all those who have contributed or stood by problems and disorders taking place in Egypt today.”