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White House Denies Holding Back Egypt Aid

The Obama administration is denying reports that it is withholding some military aid to Egypt as it considers a response to escalating violence following the military's ouster of president Mohamed Morsi.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday that a review of the United States' $1.5 billion a year in assistance to Egypt has not concluded and that published reports suggesting assistance to Egypt has been cut off are "not accurate."

"Providing foreign assistance is not like a spigot. You don't turn it off and on or turn it up or down like a faucet. Assistance is provided episodically, [...] it's provided in specific traunches, and so those traunches are under an ongoing review."

Earnest spoke in response to questions about U.S. news reports citing a spokesman for Senator Patrick Leahy saying Leahy was told the aid has been halted. Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, is chairman of the Senate's appropriations subcommittee on the State Department and foreign operations.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, says it and other Arab nations will step in to help Egypt, as the U.S. and the European Union debate whether to cut aid.

Saudi Arabia is the top contributor to a Gulf nations' $12 billion aid package for Egypt, which already dwarfs Western contributions.

The official Saudi news agency quoted the nation's foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, as saying "concerning those who announced stopping their assistance to Egypt," 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. But despite strongly condemning the Egyptian military crackdown last week that killed hundreds, the administration has said it is not deciding on whether Mr. Morsi's overthrow was a coup.

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