Israel has urged Washington not to suspend its annual $1.3 billion in aid to Cairo in the wake of the ouster of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi by the military, news reports said Tuesday.
Under U.S. law, all military and economic aid must be suspended to any country where the government is overthrown by the military, although Washington has not yet determined whether it considers the June 30 removal of Morsi was actually a coup – a claim made by the Muslim Brotherhood, to which the ousted president belongs.
According to a senior U.S. official quoted by Haaretz newspaper, Israel’s top political echelon had engaged in “marathon phone calls” with Washington over the weekend, warning that any suspension of aid could impact on Israel’s security and even undermine its 1979 peace treaty with Egypt.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon spoke with Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel, and Israel’s National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror consulted with his U.S. counterpart, Susan Rice, he said.
“The Israelis warned that cutting military aid to Egypt would likely impact negatively on Israel’s security, especially given the possibility of further security deterioration in Sinai. They also warned that halting the aid could undermine Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt,” the paper said.
U.S. aid to Egypt, which began as a direct result of the treaty, has continued uninterrupted since 1979, and Israel fears any chance in U.S. policy could undermine the Egyptian army’s commitment to the treaty.
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