U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says a decision by the United States to reduce aid to Egypt does not mean Washington is severing ties with the country.
Kerry said Thursday the Obama administration remains committed to restoring democracy in Egypt and will stay engaged with its interim leaders -- who, he said, "understand very well our commitment to the success of this government, which we want to see achieve."
The State Department said Wednesday the U.S. will freeze hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for Cairo's army-backed government, most of it in military assistance.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty called the decision "wrong" and said his country is committed to carrying out a political roadmap, which includes plans for elections next year.
Egypt's military removed democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi in July and handed power to a new interim government to lead the country until the new elections. Since the ouster, at least 1,000 people have been killed, mostly Islamists, in a crackdown against militants and supporters of Mr. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The State Department said 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.
Early reports quote U.S. officials saying the move includes stopping delivery of Apache helicopters, anti-ship missiles and tank parts. Washington will continue to provide health and education assistance, as well as help aimed at securing Egypt's borders.
U.S. 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.