US not severing ties with Egypt - Kerry

Thursday 10 October 2013 14.39
A Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Egypt would not 'surrender' to US pressure
A Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Egypt would not 'surrender' to US pressure

The decision by the United States to curtail aid to Egypt does not mean Washington is severing ties with the country, Secretary of State John Kerry has said.

His remarks come a day after the US said it was halting some aid to Cairo's army-backed government.

"The interim government understands very well our commitment to the success of this government, which we want to see achieve, and by no means is this a withdrawal from our relationship or a severing of our serious commitment to helping the government," Mr Kerry told reporters while on a visit to Malaysia.

Earlier Egypt criticised the decision by the US to halt some military and economic aid to Egypt in the wake of a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

The US decision halts tank and fighter aircraft deliveries but continues support for counter-terrorism activities. Egypt is the second-largest recipient of US aid after Israel.

"The decision was wrong. Egypt will not surrender to American pressure and is continuing its path towards democracy as set by the roadmap," Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty told a private Egyptian radio station.

The army ousted President Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July, installed an interim government and presented a political "roadmap" it promised would lead to fair elections.

The Brotherhood refuses to work with the military, which it says staged a coup and sabotaged Egypt's democratic gains after a revolt toppled autocratic President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The US said it would withhold deliveries of tanks, fighter aircraft, helicopters and missiles, as well as $260m (€192m) in cash aid from the military-backed government, pending progress on democracy and human rights.

But the State Department said it would continue military support for counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation and security in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Israel.

It will also continue to provide funding in areas such as education, health and private sector development.