President Obama’s spokesman told reporters that the United States has not decided if a coup took place in Egypt last week, when the military forcibly deposed democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi from power in response to dictatorial actions he had undertaken.
“This is an incredibly complex and difficult situation,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said during the press briefing today. “We are going to take the time necessary to review what has taken place,” he continued, promising that “as we do, we will monitor our requirements under the law and we will do so [in a manner] consistent with our policy objectives — and, we will, of course, consult with Congress.”
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said last week that U.S. law requires an end to foreign aid to Egypt. “[O]ur law is clear: U.S. aid is cut off when a democratically-elected government is deposed by military coup or decree,” Leahy said today. “As we work on the new budget, my committee also will review future aid to the Egyptian government as we wait for a clearer picture. As the world’s oldest democracy, this is a time to reaffirm our commitment to the principle that transfers of power should be by the ballot, not by force of arms.”
Carney denied that Obama is trying to come up with a legal basis for continuing aide to Egypt. “The relationship between the United States and Egypt goes beyond the provision of assistance, and it is based on decades of partnership and this country’s commitment to the Egyptian people,” he said, adding that the goal is to reduce polarization in the country.