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White House says no plans to cut Egypt aid

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The Obama administration said Monday it has no plans to withdraw financial aid from Egypt after violence over the weekend killed more than 70 supporters of its ousted president.

"I don't have any new information to convey to you about our assistance other than to remind you that that is something that is regularly reviewed," said White House deputy press secretary Joshua Earnest.

Supporters loyal to ousted President Mohammed Morsi have been demonstrating since the Egyptian military carried out a coup several weeks ago. But the Obama administration has refused to call it a "coup," which would legally require the U.S. to withdraw its financial aid.

Mr. Earnest said the U.S. "strongly condemns the bloodshed and violence in Cairo and Alexandria" over the weekend that claimed the lives of scores of Egyptian demonstrators and injured more than a thousand people.

He said various administration officials, including Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, have told their counterparts in Egypt that the violence was "inconsistent" with the interim government's commitment to return to democracy.

"Egyptian authorities have a moral and legal obligation to respect the right of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, and violence not only further sets back the process of reconciliation and democratization in Egypt, but it will negatively impact regional stability," Mr. Earnest said.

Mr. Earnest would not blame the Egyptian military for the violence, although members of the Muslim Brotherhood that supports Mr. Morsi said soldiers caused the deaths.

Asked if the administration's failure to withdraw financial aid from Egypt had given a "green light" to the military to commit violence, Mr. Earnest replied, "Of course not, and the reason for that is simple. We have been very clear with the Egyptian authorities about the need to make good on their promise to put together an inclusive process that will send … send that country back to a democratically elected government and a government that reflects the will of the people."

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