Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday that he opposes cutting off US military aid to Egypt but vowed Washington would keep pressing for “reconciliation” in the country.
The United States earlier this month condemned Egyptian security forces for firing on protesters backing ousted president Mohamed Morsi, in a crackdown that left nearly 1,000 people dead.
Hagel did not rule out eventually shutting off the flow of $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Cairo, but he stressed the importance of maintaining the decades-long alliance with Egypt, calling it a source of stability that had reinforced US interests.
The United States “wouldn’t necessarily agree with the forms of government, the dictatorships, but… we would not want to see the disintegration of a relationship with a large important country like Egypt,” he said.
Echoing similar remarks he made earlier this month, Hagel said America’s influence with Egypt had limits.