Washington: President Barack Obama and top aides scrutinized US strategy on Egypt, while the White House denied it had quietly frozen millions of dollars in aid after Cairo`s military crackdown.
Obama on Tuesday chaired a meeting of his National Security Council, which includes top diplomatic, defense, intelligence officials and uniformed military brass.
The meeting produced no imminent changes to US policy amid a cresting political row on aid to Egypt following the ouster last month of ex-president Mohamed Morsi.
An administration official told a news agency the meeting was part of a broad review of US policy towards Egypt following a tumultuous two months in the country and was not limited to considering the size of future US aid shipments.
At stake is the entire US strategy towards Egypt, the shape of US assistance, which annually hits USD 1.3 billion, and Washington`s response to how key regional players are responding to the coup.
Saudi Arabia, an ally with which Washington has delicate ties, has warned it would step in and help Cairo if US aid trickles to a halt.
The crackdown, which has killed nearly 900 people, has left Obama balancing US political values and hopes for Arab democracy, and national security interests guarded by Cairo`s military.
The White House also took a new public shot at Egypt`s military-backed government, by calling the arrest yesterday of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie incompatible with the military`s pledge for an "inclusive political process."
Badie had been in hiding since July 10 when a warrant was issued for his arrest over accusations he incited the deaths of protesters outside the Muslim Brotherhood`s Cairo headquarters in late June.
Egypt`s authorities have this month rounded up dozens of senior Brotherhood leaders, drawing US rebukes.
Debate over US aid to Egypt was fueled by a report that suggested that Washington had already frozen pending military aid shipments.
Several of Obama`s top congressional opponents say sending billions of dollars to Egypt is now incompatible with US values, after protesters were shot dead in the streets.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said there had been no final decision on a review of US aid to Egypt, launched after the military`s ouster of Morsi, the country`s first democratically elected leader.
"Reports to the contrary that suggest that assistance to Egypt has been cut off are not accurate," he said.