The United States won’t call Egypt’s decision to overthrow President Mohammed Morsi as a military coup. Senior administration officials reported that the government may never have to determine whether or not the ouster of Morsi was a coup.
The incident is at issue, because US foreign aid funding laws say a coup means an automatic cut-off of aid to a country. The US currently sends $1.55 billion in aid to Egypt, $1.3 of which goes to the country’s military.
US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns met with senior Senate members behind closed doors on Thursday. ABC News reports that Burns did so to state that the Obama administration has yet to make a decision on the designation.
It is possible no designation will ever be given by the administration. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, hinted that members of Congress may have to decide the designation in the end. Corker added that it is important to work “towards stability” in the country.
Senator Bob Mendez (D-NJ) added that the US’s decision on Wednesday to delay the shipment of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt sends an appropriate message. He explained that the delay shows “there is an expectation that they have to follow through with what they said. We have to make sure peace is maintained.”
Several politicians have called for Egypt’s ouster of Morsi to be labeled a coup, as the military was involved in it. However, the law requires President Barack Obama and his administration to label the July 3rd ouster how they see fit. And that forces the administration into a difficult position, notes The Huffington Post.
But even Corker wasn’t sure the United States should cut off aid to Egypt. He called the Middle Eastern nation a “very strategic country” that deserves an “instrument of calmness.” However, he believes that the US should decide if Egypt’s ouster of Morsi was a coup or not. He explained, “We know it can’t stay out here in the land of not knowing was or wasn’t.”
Because of this, Corker believes Congress may have to take up the issue.