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Egypt PM says country can survive without US military aid

Egypt PM says country can survive without US military aid
Egypt’s interim prime minister said it would be a mistake on the part of the US to halt its substantial military aid to Cairo, while indicating in a defiant tone that Egypt would "live with the circumstances" if Washington decided to cease aid.

The Obama administration is facing increasing pressure to halt the billion-dollar-plus yearly aid that it supplies to Egypt’s military, as bloodshed continues in the wake of President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster.

Regardless, Hazem el-Beblawi signaled that the country’s current military regime could sustain the loss.

"Let's not forget that Egypt went with the Russian military for support and we survived. So, there is no end to life," he said. "You can live with different circumstances."

Congress has been echoing hesitation at continued American support of the country’s military leadership in the wake of what is widely seen as a coup - which according to US law would mandate and likely end aid to Egypt.

The White House has managed to avoid publicly declaring Morsi’s ouster by the country’s armed forces a military coup, though word came this week that the administration had nonetheless quietly put a halt to delivery of certain military hardware to the country.

El-Beblawi told ABC News on Tuesday that the potential halt of US military aid to his country would “be a bad sign and will badly affect the military for some time.”

Several countries in the region, most vocally Saudi Arabia, have already said that they would be stepping in to fund Egypt’s military if the US or the European Union were to withdraw aid.

The kingdom stands with Egypt and against all those who try to interfere with its domestic affairs,” Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah said during a televised speech on Friday.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, recently traveled to Europe in support of Egypt’s interim military government. The country reportedly delivered a blank check to Cairo, according to a New York Times report.

Aid from regional allies was quick to arrive to Egypt following Morsi’s ouster. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates promised Egypt a combined $12 billion in loans, grants, and fuel shipments. According to Reuters $5 billion of that aid has already arrived.

Egypt’s army-backed interim government appears to be moving quickly to invest those loans to fund projects and infrastructure, spurring the economy through direct government investments in a bid to bolster the country’s stability.

Despite reports of suspended US aid, the White House has denied that any decisions have been reached.

"That review has not concluded and published reports to the contrary that assistance to Egypt has been cut off are not accurate," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in a Tuesday briefing.