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Egypt decries US aid freeze, says it’s “incorrect”

FILE - In this Wednesday April 24 2013 file phoU.S. Secretary Defense Chuck Hagel second left stands with an Egyptian

FILE - In this Wednesday, April 24, 2013, file photo, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, second left, stands with an Egyptian army official before laying a wreath at the tomb of late President Anwar al-Sadat in Cairo. U.S. officials said Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, that the Obama administration is poised to slash hundreds of millions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Egypt. The U.S. has been considering such a move since the Egyptian military ousted the country’s first democratically elected leader in June. (AP Photo/Jim Watson, Pool, File)

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CAIRO — Egypt has decried Washington’s decision to freeze a sizable chunk of its annual $1.5 billion aid to Egypt, saying the move was wrong and ill-timed.

In Egypt’s first public reaction, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the American move, whether permanent or temporary, raised questions about Washington’s commitment to supporting the Arab nation’s security goals at a time when it is facing terrorist challenges.

The U.S. said the aid would be restored if “credible progress” was made toward setting up an inclusive government in the wake of the ouster in a July 3 coup of Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist freely elected in June 2012.

The Foreign Ministry statement said Cairo was keen to maintain good relations with Washington, but will independently decide its domestic policies.

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