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US Expected to Slash Military Aid to Egypt

U.S. officials say the Obama administration is leaning toward withholding a significant portion of military aid to Egypt, after reviewing the program for months following the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi and a crackdown on his supporters.

The officials, speaking to Western news media on the condition of anonymity, said the decision would not affect money for counterterrorism or security in the restive Sinai Peninsula.

White House spokesman Jay Carney Wednesday denied reports the United States will halt all of the $1.3 billion in annual military assistance to Egypt. But he said that Washington is "not able to proceed with business as usual" while supporting a government in Cairo that reflects the desires of the Egyptian people.

Carney said a formal announcement on any changes regarding U.S. aid to Egypt would be made after all "appropriate Congressional and diplomatic briefings had been completed."

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said earlier that an announcement about assistance to Egypt will be made "in the coming days."

President Barack Obama said last month in his address to the United Nations General Assembly that Egypt's interim government has "made decisions inconsistent with inclusive democracy," and that U.S. support is dependent on a more democratic path.

Officials said Tuesday the cuts to military aid could be restored when Egypt returns to a democratically elected government.

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

Egypt's military ousted Mr. 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.