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Egyptian PM: US Aid Cutoff Would Be 'Bad Sign'

In this image released by the Egyptian Presidency, Hazem el-Beblawi meets with interim President Adly Mansour, unseen, in Cairo, July 9, 2013.
In this image released by the Egyptian Presidency, Hazem el-Beblawi meets with interim President Adly Mansour, unseen, in Cairo, July 9, 2013.
Egypt's interim prime minister says any move by the United States to cut military aid to the country would be a "very bad sign."

Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi told ABC News in an interview broadcast late Tuesday that losing the funding would affect Egypt's military "for some time." But he also said the military "survived" before on decades of Russian military support.

Beblawi said Egypt and the United States need each other, just as his country needs its relationships with European and Asian nations.

His comments come as the United States and the European Union weigh their financial support to Egypt.

The EU Foreign Affairs Council is meeting Wednesday to discuss the situation in Egypt, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama met with his Cabinet to review the $1.5 billion annual U.S. aid package to the country.

US Administration Reviews Aid to Egypt
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White House officials denied on Tuesday that any aid has been halted, and said a review Obama ordered last month is ongoing.

The policy review followed the Egyptian military's early July deposition of democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi.

The move against 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 Morsi's removal.
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