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Egypt Calls US Halt in Military Aid 'Wrong'

Egypt is criticizing a decision by the United States to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid and cash assistance.

The U.S. State Department said Wednesday the halt in what it called "certain large-scale military systems" would continue until Egypt shows "credible progress" toward free elections and a democratic civilian government.

Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty on Thursday called the decision "wrong" and said his country is committed to carrying out a political roadmap, which includes plans for elections next year.

The State Department did not elaborate on specifically what will be withheld, but early reports quote other officials saying the move includes stopping delivery of Apache helicopters, anti-ship missiles and tank parts.

The statement said Washington will continue to provide health and education assistance, as well as help aimed at securing Egypt's borders.

President Barack Obama told the United Nations General Assembly last month that Egypt's interim military-backed government has "made decisions inconsistent with inclusive democracy." At that time, he said further U.S. support would depend on a more democratic path.



The United States already has suspended the delivery of some fighter jets and canceled joint military exercises with Cairo. In August, the European Union halted the sale of military items it believes could be used for repression.

Egypt's military ousted President Mohammed Morsi in July and handed power to a new interim government to lead Egypt until new elections are held next year. Since then, at least 1,000 people have been killed, mostly Islamists, in a crackdown against militants and supporters of Mr. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

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