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Obama Confers with Cabinet on Egypt Aid

U.S. President Barack Obama met Tuesday with his Cabinet to review options for continuing or curtailing $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt.

The meeting, confirmed by White House spokesman Josh Earnest, followed word from a spokesman for a key U.S. senator who said the aid has been halted. The White house flatly denied any cutoff, and said the review ordered by the president last month is ongoing.

Earnest also advised reporters not to expect any aid decision from the president in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's meeting.

Mr. Obama ordered the policy review after the Egyptian military in early July deposed democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi.

The move against Mr. Morsi and leaders of his Islamist Muslim Brotherhood party came after days of anti-government protests in which hundreds of thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities to demand the Morsi ouster.

Since then, throngs of Morsi supporters have launched days of counter-protests, triggering a massive and deadly military crackdown in Cairo and other cities that has killed more than 1,000 people. The Muslim Brotherhood insists the toll is much higher.

Egypt's ally Saudi Arabia -- the top aid contributor to Cairo -- said Tuesday it is prepared, along with other Arab nations, to step in to help Egypt if Western aid is cut.

The official Saudi news agency quoted the nation's foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, as saying the Arab and Muslim nations are "rich" with people and capabilities and "will provide a helping hand."

U.S. federal law requires the cutoff of aid to any country in which a military coup has displaced an elected government.

However, analysts say the Obama administration is proceeding cautiously, as it seeks to balance the benefits of a decades-long partnership with the Egyptian military against the need to show strong disapproval for Mr. Morsi's removal.

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