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Sen. John McCain wants to halt US aid to Egypt military

Arizona Senator John McCain said Friday that he reluctantly must urge the United States not to support a military that overturned a freely elected government in Egypt.

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Arizona Republican Senator John McCain visits Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square last year, after a popular uprising ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Arizona Sen. John McCain urged the United States to temporarily suspend aid to Egypt's army days after a military coup ousted freely elected President Mohamed Morsi. 

Speaking in his home state, McCain - a member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee - said the US government must learn from its past mistakes and halt aid "because the military has overturned the vote of the people.” 

The US has since 1979 sent financial aid to Egypt, now second only to Israel in terms of economic and military assistance received, with about $1.5 billion sent annually to the restive nation. About $1.3 billion goes to the Egyptian military.

“I say that with great reluctance, but the United States of America I think must learn the lessons of history and that is: We cannot stand by without acting in cases where freely elected governments are unseated by the military arm of those nations,” McCain said.

McCain then called on Washington to demand Egypt's military set a schedule for free and fair elections and the establishing of a new constitution. After that, McCain said, "We should evaluate whether to continue with aid or not."

McCain acknowledged that his plan of action posed some risk, especially for security in Sinai.

“I am aware that by suspending aid to the Egyptian military, which is the only stable institution in Egypt, we are risking further problems in the Sinai, and in other areas of cooperation with the Egyptian military,” he said.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/130706/sen-john-mccain-wants-end-us-aid-egypt-military