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Israel urges US not to halt aid to Egypt

February 4, 2014 at 10:11 am

American officials have said that Israel has asked the US administration not to halt the $1.3 billion annual aid to the Egyptian army because it might affect Israel’s national security, Haaretz reported on Tuesday. The newspaper claimed that marathon talks over the issue have been held over the past 7 days. Contacts between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry concentrated on the aid issue, as have discussions between Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon and his American counterpart Chuck Hagel as well as security advisers.

The US administration has made it clear that its response to the developments in Egypt would be decided by American interests and its own national security. US law is clear that aid should be cut if a democratically-elected government is overthrown by the military, so the Obama administration has stopped short of calling President Morsi’s ousting by the Egyptian army a coup.

Instead, the White House and State Department have called on the Egyptian army to maximise self-control when dealing with pro-Morsi protesters. A White House spokesman said that changes to the aid programme for Egypt would not be good for US national security as they might harm Israeli security and destabilise the whole region.

A senior Israeli political source has said that the instability in Egypt is expected to last for a long time as the Muslim Brotherhood will not concede power easily.