President Obama's comments about the crisis in Egypt; Aug. 15, 2013
"The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt's interim government" that have led to civilians "being killed in the streets," President Obama said Thursday from Martha's Vineyard, Mass., where he is vacationing with his family.
He called on Egypt's interim government to lift the state of emergency it has declared and said the U.S. has canceled joint military exercises with Egypt that had been scheduled for September.
"Our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual while civilians are being killed in the streets," Obama said.
Officials also ordered nonessential government personnel to leave the U.S. Consulate in Lahore.
The statement issued Thursday says the drawdown was due to "specific threats" concerning the consulate, which was scheduled to be closed for the Eid holiday from Thursday through Sunday. No reopening had been scheduled, a U.S. official told The Associated Press.
Every year, the U.S. Congress appropriates more than $1 billion in military aid to Egypt. But that money never gets to Egypt. It goes to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, then to a trust fund at the Treasury and, finally, out to U.S. military contractors that make the tanks and fighter jets that ultimately get sent to Egypt.
The U.S. started sending M1A1 Abrams tanks to Egypt in the late '80s. In all, the U.S. sent more than 1,000 tanks to Egypt since then — valued at some $3.9 billion — which Egypt maintains along with several thousand Soviet-era tanks.