U.S. Suspends Aid Talks With Egypt Over anti-American Protests, Report Says

Officials speaking to Washington Post say U.S. waiting to see 'how things materialize'; several officials say suspension is temporary move, not an overhaul of U.S. policy.

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The United States has put negotiations geared at renewed U.S. financial aid to Egypt on hold following protests against an American-made anti-Islam movie, which started in Cairo and spread across the Muslim world, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

Protesters have breached the walls or compounds of several U.S. diplomatic missions, including the consulate in Benghazi, Libya where the ambassador and three other Americans were killed.

After last week's incidents, the State Department ordered all U.S. embassies and consulates around the world to review their security postures. As a result, a number of missions decided to destroy classified material, a U.S. official said on Monday.

On Tuesday, U.S. officials speaking to the Washington Post said that talks between Washington and Cairo geared at providing Egypt with much-needed financial aid were put on hold in the wake of the protest wave, and were not due to renew before the upcoming U.S. presidential elections.

“Folks are going to wait and see how things materialize both with the protests and on Capitol Hill,” one congressional aide told the Washington Post.

Several American officials, however, indicated that any delay in aid was expected to be temporary, and that no significant change in U.S. policy in regard to Egypt was expected.

Speaking on aid discussions with Egypt in the wake of recent events, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that "the points that we are continuing to make are about the importance of maintaining security, vigilance, working together."

"That is moving well. And as you know, we are continuing to work with the Hill on the support that we think is important to support those very forces of moderation, change, democracy, openness in Egypt that are very important for defeating extremism of the kind that we saw," Nuland added.

An Egyptian protester standing amid a fog of tear gas prepares to throw stones towards policemen during a demonstration against a film mocking Islam in Cairo on September 14, 2012Credit: AFP

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