Carney not ready to label Morsi’s ouster a military coup

White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks to reporters about the so-called "sequester" at the White House in Washington February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque White House press secretary Jay Carney discussed the so-called sequester in February. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

As members of the Muslim Brotherhood call for a popular uprising against the Egyptian military, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Monday that the administration is not ready to call the ouster of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi a coup.

When asked by Associated Press correspondent Nedra Pickler whether the White House could embrace that term, Carney replied,  "There are -- and again, to be blunt, there are significant consequences that go along with this determination, and it is a highly charged issue for millions of Egyptians who have different views about what happened."

Carney, who did not actually utter the word "coup" during his extended answer, added: "So, in answer to your question, I would say that we are going to take the time necessary to review what has taken place and to monitor efforts by Egyptian authorities to forge an inclusive and democratic way forward. And as we do, we will review our requirements under the law, and we will do so consistent with our policy objectives. And we will also, of course, consult with Congress on that."

Carney also made it clear the administration was not about to cut off aid to Egypt despite the political unrest.

"No, we're -- I think I would say on the question of aid that the relationship between the United States and Egypt goes beyond the provision of assistance, and it is based on decades of partnership and our commitment, this country's commitment, to the Egyptian people," he said. "And everything we do will be focused on supporting a reduction in the polarization within Egypt and in hastening Egypt's return to a democratically elected government as soon as possible. And we view this decision, this determination, through that prism."

Juliet Eilperin is The Washington Post's White House bureau chief, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.
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