Background Briefing by Senior Administration Officials on U.S. Assistance to Egypt
MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for hopping on the call. This call is being held on background to discuss U.S. assistance to Egypt. We have five speakers on the line today.
First, [name and title withheld]. Hereafter, he will be known as Senior Administration Official Number One.
[Name and title withheld] hereafter will be known as Senior Administration Official Two.
[Name and title withheld] hereafter will be known as Senior Administration Official Three.
[Name and title withheld], here will be known as Senior Administration Official Four.
And [name withheld and title withheld] hereafter will be known as Senior Administration Official Five.
So just to reiterate, everyone here are senior administration officials. Now, Senior Administration Officials One, Two, and Three will deliver a brief opening remark, and then we will open it up for questions.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL NUMBER ONE: Okay, thanks, Marie. I will be very brief and – because I know we want to get to your questions. And I’m going to leave it to Senior Official Number Two to discuss the specifics of our assistance decision. What I would like to very briefly do is just say a few words about our relationship with Egypt in general to put this decision in context. And on that relationship, I’d just start by quoting the statement that we just released that many of you will have seen by now, which says that the United States and Egypt have a longstanding partnership and many shared interests.
The United States wants to see Egypt succeed, and we believe the U.S.-Egypt partnership will be strongest when Egypt is represented by an inclusive, democratically-elected civilian government based on the rule of law, fundamental freedoms, and an open and competitive economy. Now I say that because I think our assistance – our decisions on assistance should be seen with those fundamental points in mind. We want to see Egypt succeed and we want to see Egypt have an inclusive democracy.
I think our actions towards Egypt over the past couple of years and more recently have been consistent with this approach. During the 2011 Egyptian revolution, we supported those who called for change, and we did so based on the belief that societies based on democracy and openness and the dignity of the individual will ultimately be more stable, more prosperous and more peaceful.
Now since then, we recognize, and the President noted this in his remarks to the General Assembly a couple of weeks ago, that Mohammed Morsy was democratically elected, but he proved unwilling or unable to govern in a way that was fully inclusive. Now since then, the interim government that replaced him last summer, we recognized had the support of millions of Egyptians who believed that that revolution had taken a wrong turn. But we think that it too has made decisions inconsistent with inclusive democracy, which sort of leads us to where we are now.
As the President said – also said in his speech in New York, our overriding interest throughout these past few years has been to encourage a government in Egypt that legitimately reflects the will of the Egyptian people, and recognizes true democracy as requiring respect for minority rights, the rule of law, freedom of speech and assembly, and a strong civil society. And so after the events in the course of this summer, you’ll recall, the President made clear that the United States would not continue – could not continue business as usual, given these developments – the violence and the restrictions on rights – and he asked for a review of our assistance relationship with Egypt. And as a result of that review directed by the President, we have decided to recalibrate our assistance to Egypt to ensure that it’s being effectively used to advance all of our objectives.
Now, we’ve talked to you before about certain things that have been held up like F-16 deliveries and the postponement of the military exercise Bright Star. Now we’re in a position to provide some greater specificity. And with that, I would like to turn to Senior Official Number Two, who can spell out in a bit more detail the specifics of this decision.
OPERATOR: And it’s possible you have your mute button on. We are not hearing anything on the line.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL NUMBER TWO: Oh, sorry, yep. Go ahead. So, very sorry. To – in order to underscore the importance that we attach to continuing a strong relationship with the – with Egypt, I wanted to get into some specifics about what it means as we continue to work constructively with the interim government. To do that, we will continue to provide most of the economic assistance to programs that directly benefit the Egyptian people in areas like health, democracy, governance, those kinds of things. This also includes assistance to support the development of the private sector, something that we have put quite a bit of emphasis on over the years and more recently.
We also will continue assistance that advances our vital security objectives like countering terrorism, countering proliferation, and ensuring security in the Sinai. We will also continue support like military training and education, and will continue spare parts, replacement parts, and related services for the military equipment that we provide.
What we will not be doing is we will not provide cash assistance to the interim government. We’ll repurpose that, as we can explain in greater detail. And we’ve decided to hold delivery of certain of the large-scale military systems. These would include, for instance, as Senior Administration Official Number One already mentioned, the F-16s. It also includes the M1A1 tank kits, Harpoon missiles, and Apaches.
This decision will be reviewed on a periodic basis, particularly as we look at Egypt’s progress on the democratic transition. We’ll also be working with Congress on – as we take a look at the development on the democratic transition, and we will be adjusting all of this at any time based on our assessment of that progress.
And with that, I will turn it over to Senior Administration Official Number Three.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: Thanks very much. I just wanted to start by giving a readout of the call that Secretary Hagel had with Minister al-Sisi this afternoon to discuss this decision with him. They spoke this afternoon for about 30 minutes, or about 40 minutes, actually. It was a very good call. It was very friendly. In fact, Secretary Hagel noted that he had spoken with Minister al-Sisi more than any of his other counterparts, actually. I think they’ve spoken with each other over 20 times in the last several months. And he said they’ve done so for a reason. It underscores the importance of the U.S.-Egypt relationship. And Secretary Hagel stressed the long history and friendship between the United States and the Egyptian people, and Minister al-Sisi concurred and affirmed that as well.
Secretary Hagel emphasized how important the U.S.-Egypt relationship was to the stability and security for Egypt, but for the United States as well and the broader Middle East. And Secretary Hagel made the key point that the U.S.-Egyptian security relationship and assistance relationship is continuing, and made the point, as Senior Administration Official Two said, that we are continuing to provide assistance on the issues that advance both our vital security objectives. That includes countering terrorism, countering proliferation, border security, ensuring security in the Sinai, working with peace with Israel, and includes things that include also spare parts, replacement parts, along those lines.
At the same time, Secretary Hagel noted that the United States has made clear for a while, and he did now, that we need to continue to recalibrate our assistance relationship with Egypt. And as part of this, this impacts some of the major weapons systems that Egypt receives. They had a frank discussion that, as they’ve discussed before, this includes holding the delivery of F-16s, which was already in place, but this will also include holding some additional systems that include Apache helicopters, Harpoon missiles, and M1A1 tank parts.
They concluded the conversation by agreeing to continue to talk often and to continue to work together to take the steps to strengthen the U.S.-Egyptian relationship, but also to take the steps needed to resume the assistance that has been held. And then, importantly at the end – and I think this is important – they discussed the importance of continuing to secure U.S. embassies and facilities in Egypt, and providing for the security of Americans in Egypt. And they also discussed the importance of Egypt continuing to take steps on the political roadmap, with the goal of an inclusive, representative democracy. And Minister al-Sisi reaffirmed that commitment, both the commitment to the security of the American facilities, Americans, as well as taking steps along the political roadmap.
After that readout, I just wanted to add a few pieces of context about just on what some of the assistance that we’re continuing is. One thing that is continuing is something that matters a great deal to the Egyptians – to the Egyptian people and their government. It’s our military training education. And it’s really a symbol of our long-term relationship with Egypt. Now, this is something that’s helping to create close ties between our governments, really for generations. General al-Sisi, as many of you know, is himself a graduate of the Army War College. And this week, right now in the United States, there are Egyptian military officers in classrooms, receiving training about counterterrorism, meeting shared security objectives, and really building those relationships that have been maintained for generations. And that will continue. And that was really the spirit of their call, that the ongoing important parts of the relationship are going on, and both Minister al-Sisi and Secretary Hagel committed to taking steps to continue that.
MODERATOR: Great. Thank you so much. Ryan, if you could let folks know how to put in questions right now, I think that would be helpful, and then we’ll get started on some questions.
OPERATOR: Okay, ladies and gentlemen, if you do wish to ask a question, please press * then 1 at this time.
MODERATOR: And I just want to reassure all the participants that when we were on mute, Senior Administration Official Two repeated what they had said at the top. So nobody missed anything substantive, I promise.
Give it one second. I think we’re ready for our first question, from Elise Labott of CNN.
QUESTION: Thank you. Could you please provide some more specifics about number – about figures in terms of these cuts? And also, when you say you’re recalibrating, is this a kind of permanent shift or – you talk about that you want the Egyptians to move along the – an inclusive process and democracy and all that; do you see a kind of permanent restoring of this aid, or is this – when you made this review, is this – when you say recalibrate, is this a kind of new relationship that you’re planning to have with Egypt? Thank you.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: [Moderator], do you want me to start on that and then maybe turn it over to [Senior Administration Official Four] and others on the numbers bit?
MODERATOR: Perfect. Sounds good.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: But just – Elise, on recalibrating and permanence, no, I think what we’re trying to make clear is this is not meant to be permanent; it’s meant to be the opposite. It’s meant to be continually reviewed. It is already the result of a deliberate review over the course of the summer. And you’ll notice that it’s not being presented or announced in terms of definitive ends to any specific programs. Certain things are being held until we see progress on some of the things we’ve talked about – the inclusive nonviolent, democracy, sustainable democracy, that I identified as one of our core interests in Egypt.
That actually does make it difficult – and others will comment on this – to give you specific answers on the numbers, because it’s not as if there’s some finite thing that has been stopped necessarily forever. The relationship – some of the money that might have been allocated toward certain things will be recalibrated in the sense that it will be repurposed towards other ends, like assistance that might have just been provided in the past as cash assistance to the government to use as it saw fit will now not be provided in that way, but we’ll be looking for other ways to help the Egyptian people. So that’s an aspect of recalibration or repurposing. And then some of what we have described as being held will be restored at some point, but only when there’s progress along the lines that we identified for you.
MODERATOR: Great. I don’t think we have anything else from here, so I think we can go to the next question. And we’re going to go to Mark Landler of the New York Times.
QUESTION: Thank you. I guess just to try again on Elise’s question. [Senior Administration Official One], you said it was going to be difficult to provide numbers, but we’d be interested maybe then in an aggregate number. Is there any estimate you can put on the aggregate value of these big-ticket military items?
And then secondly and just sort of more thematically, you’re presumably taking this action to send a signal to the Egyptians that some of the things they’ve done over the past several months have been very wrong and very bad, and yet the entire tone of both the statement you put out and this call is to sort of reaffirm the continuity of the relationship. And I wonder whether, within the context of how you’re presenting it, it’s going to get the message across, which is that these guys need to change the way they’re doing business. How are you going to get that message across?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: And again, I’ll start if that’s all right and I’ll be brief. I mean, the two things are related, Mark. It is, in fact – what I was trying to say, it’s hard to put a specific number on things because you’re talking – are you talking about a delivery that might have been scheduled to happen in the course of this fall that won’t happen, or are you talking about all of the deliveries that would have taken place in the course of a year, or are you talking about more than that? So that’s why specific numbers are going to be hard to provide.
I think what we can say is that when you add up the categories of things that my colleagues have mentioned that will be held, we’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars in military assistance. Now, this is why I say it’s related to the other point when you say if part of this message is meant to send a message of concern about trends and developments, I think it’s fair to say that holding up in the deliveries of hundreds of million dollars in assistance is a pretty clear message. So yes, we’ve made clear we want to continue an assistance relationship, we want Egypt to succeed, and there are a lot of positive things. And we’ve made clear that we recognize the context. I mean, I talked about how the protests in the streets and the events in July did indicate that there were an awful lot of Egyptians who weren’t satisfied with the way Morsy was governing. We do recognize that. But we also recognize that the interim government has a lot of work to do itself, and I think it is fair to say that suspending hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance, and then you talk about the economic assistance directly to the government on top of that, is a pretty clear message that we care about the things that we say we care about.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Great, thank you. I think we’re going to go to our next question that comes from the Washington Post. Ernesto Londono, please --
QUESTION: Hi. On the cash assistance question, are you saying that you are essentially eliminating cashflow financing for Egypt? And have you worked out who’s going to be on the hook for the money for items that have been ordered in the past few years that Egypt expected to receive but will not be receiving? The defense industry is expecting to be paid for this. Where is the money going to come from?
MODERATOR: We’ll start with this here, and then if other folks want to jump in, we can do that.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: All right. So right now the Egypt military sales program is cashflow financed, and that’s going to continue. In terms of the impact on the ongoing contracts, we’re going to meet our obligations to the contractors and we’re going to have to work with them as we serve both to repurpose some of these programs. It’s going to be on a sort of a contract-by-contract basis. So that work will continue over the coming weeks and months.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Great. And I think we’ll go to our next question, which is from Margaret Brennan of CBS. Go ahead, Margaret.
MODERATOR: Is Margaret on?
OPERATOR: It looks like Margaret’s line has dropped off the line.
MODERATOR: Okay. Then we’ll move to Arshad Mohammed from Reuters, please. Go ahead, Arshad.
QUESTION: Yeah, two things. We have a congressional source telling us that the amount of the cash transfer assistance that is being withheld comes to $260 million. Is that correct?
And secondly, what – given what the President himself described as the undemocratic steps taken by the interim government since July 3, including on democracy, on the lack of respect for human rights, and so on, what makes you think that the withholding of this assistance is actually going to yield a more democratic and rights-respecting governance from a government that came into being as the result of a coup and has done all the things the President described at UNGA?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL FOUR: I can start with the first question. Yes, the amount of cash transfer – this is direct budget support we would give to the government – is $260 million. I’ll let others speak to the other question.
QUESTION: Thank you.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I mean, I’ll pick up the other question again, Arshad. I don’t think anyone would claim there’s going to be a direct line between decisions that we’re announcing on assistance and immediate changes on the ground in Egypt exactly in line with what we are urging the Egyptians to do. But at the same time, the President has made clear how important these things are to us, and this decision just underscores that the United States will not support actions that run contrary to our interests and our principles, and it’s important to be clear about those things. And that’ s why the President was immediately clear about his concerns in July. It was why he was immediately clear that we just can’t go about this relationship as business as usual after further events in the course of the summer. And this is a way of expressing that, and as some of my colleagues have described in the readout of the call and in other ways, we’ve conveyed that very clearly and consistently to the Egyptian Government, and they hear us.
MODERATOR: Great, thank you. And if the operator – Ryan if you could just quickly give folks – again, to make sure they know the directions for dialing in for questions – and then I’ll go to the next question.
OPERATOR: Okay. Once again, if you do have a question, you press *1. If your question has already been answered, you can use the # key to remove yourself.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Ryan. Let’s try this again. Margaret Brennan from CBS.
QUESTION: Thanks. Sorry for the technical issues there. Two questions. Is it still U.S. policy that we are not determining that a coup was carried out in July in Egypt?
And when you are talking about recalibrating aid here, logistically, what is it – what new things are we funding and how? To what degree do we need waivers and vehicles via legislative means to achieve what you’re trying to do here?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: The answer to the first part is easy, and I’ll let [Senior Administration Official Four] take the second one.
Nothing has changed in terms of approaching what you called the coup restriction; didn’t make a determination, haven’t made a determination, don’t think we need to make a determination, are acting consistent with the provisions of the law and we’ll continue to do so.
And [Senior Administration Official Four] can pick up the issue of – or others, [Senior Administration Official Two] or others on recalibration.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL FIVE: On the recalibration of the economic assistance programs, what we’re going to be doing is working with the Government of Egypt to really reshape and restructure the current and existing programs that we have to really focus more on the – on what – directly benefitting the Egyptian people. We’re going to go forward again to continue to fund some of the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund which we’re doing, which is very, very focused on supporting the private sector. So we’ll continue with, again, our education programs, our health programs. So it’s restructuring and recalibrating the things that will benefit directly the Egyptian people.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL FOUR: And I’ll just make one – one point is that we’re going to have to work with the Congress on making sure we have the right authorities going forward as we move through this process.
MODERATOR: And just to be clear, that was – not the very previous speaker but the one before that was Senior Administration Official Number Five, just so folks are clear.
I think we’ll go on to our next question from Kim Ghattas of the BBC, if she’s still on.
QUESTION: Yes. Hi, can you hear me?
MODERATOR: Yes. Go ahead, Kim.
QUESTION: Right. Some of my questions have been asked, but I wanted to go back to the call that was held between Defense Secretary Hagel and Mr. Sisi. Can you tell us a little bit more about how Mr. Sisi reacted? I know you don’t like to characterize the other party, but how did they leave things? What was the conversation like beyond friendly and productive? And what do you think the realistic impact of this recalibrating of aid will be? I mean, you’re withholding $260 million in cash, but Gulf countries are promising to pour in billions. So does it really make a difference if you stop cash aid?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: Sure. The – I mean, they left the call in a very cordial, professional, and positive tone. I mean, I think looking forward to what the steps needed to be taken to strengthen the U.S.-Egyptian long-term relationship, they agreed to continue to talk and consult often, which they left there. And both wanted to take the steps needed to resume this – to resume the assistance.
As far as what the recalibration, what they talked about is they talked about making sure we’re focusing the assistance on the types of things that concretely benefitted U.S. and Egyptian mutual security interests. So that was security in the Sinai, countering terrorism, border security, and looking at this as a way to continue to refocus how that assistance could most effectively be used on the shared security objectives.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL TWO: And then in terms of the cash aid, it’s true that various other countries have provided a considerable amount of cash to the interim government. The difference is a lot of – and we aren’t providing cash assistance in this next period. The difference is our assistance will be focused on economic reforms, some of the technical assistance that’s required for that kind of thing. And as my colleague Official Number Five said, we’ll continue support for the Enterprise Fund. These are all programs that directly benefit the Egyptian people and directly benefit the building of economic institutions and the ability of Egyptians to find jobs, get jobs, and be trained properly for jobs.
MODERATOR: Great. Thanks so much. Our next question will be coming from Deb Riechmann of the Associated Press. Go ahead, Deb.
QUESTION: I’m assuming that the President was given a range of recommendations, from harsh punitive action to more of a light-handed approach. In lieu of any numbers that you can’t offer, should we see this announcement as reflective of a kind of a middle-of-the-road approach? Is this light-handed or is this a very heavy-handed cut in aid?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Well, I don’t think we want to get into different options that were proposed or discussed internally. I mean, we did say the President asked for a review of the entire assistance relationship in the wake of developments over the summer. That review has been going on and indeed will continue to go on because we’re going to keep this under review. And others will make up their minds whether they think this was – where they would place it on the spectrum, but for us it was meant to be, one, a decision that would focus our ongoing assistance on the things that are in our mutual relationship, and we’ve described those categories because we do have an important relationship that we want to continue and a lot of mutual interests that have been described.
At the same time, we wanted it to be clear that some of the developments that took place over the course of the summer that were not consistent with inclusive democracy and nonviolence were inconsistent with our interests and our principles, and we wanted to clearly signal that, and we think that we have.
QUESTION: So this is more than just a slap on the wrist kind of thing?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Again, I’ll leave it to you and others to characterize it.
QUESTION: It’s hard for us to characterize it without having any ability to see the numbers or the value.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: Well, as I mentioned earlier, it amounts to – and again, depending on how you do your calculations over what time period – hundreds of millions of dollars and some high-profile military systems that will not be delivered until there’s progress towards the inclusive democracy that we want to see. So I think that’s a pretty clear signal of the U.S. approach and the importance that we place on the issues that we’re talking about.
MODERATOR: Great. Thanks, Deb. The next question will be from Olivier Knox at Yahoo News.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) programs that were suspended chosen? And did President Obama discuss any of these reductions with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he was in town?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: The first part of that question was cut off. Would you mind repeating it?
QUESTION: Sure. How were the – you talk about the F-16s, the Apaches, the tank kits, the Harpoons. How were those programs picked over others?
MODERATOR: Our Senior Administration Official from the Defense Department, are you on? We can’t hear you.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: Yes.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: So they – I think in looking at these issues, I think they looked at some of the types of – in looking at the goals, first was to make sure that we were continuing the things that were immediately needed for the goals we talked about – counterterrorism, Sinai, borders, the peace treaty, and keeping the peace with Israel. As we looked at some of these larger systems, frankly, we – that was part of the recalibration. There was a larger conversation we’ve been having for a while to make sure that the – sort of the big ticket items we were spending were making sure they were best suited to the particular types of goals that we’re encouraging the Egyptians to have. So they weren’t suggested or recommended in a punitive way or anything like that, but really taking a step back and looking at what really is what’s most necessary in this environment to address the vital security interests of both countries.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: And we wanted just to reinforce that. We wanted to be absolutely clear that we weren’t going to do anything that would put at risk our own security or Egypt’s security or some of our common interests. And so continuing with everything related to security in the Sinai, counterterrorism, sustainment of their capabilities there – I don’t think we’ve focused on that enough here, but we are also continuing with spare parts and what they need to continue to do the things that are in our mutual interest and help support the peace treaty with Israel. We didn’t want to do anything to put any of that at risk, and we believe that the bigger ticket items that we are not currently proceeding with don’t do that and our important security interests are thus preserved even while we are sending this important signal.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL THREE: And that’s just – just to echo that point, that was an important part that was emphasized on the call. There will be no immediate diminution in Egypt’s ability to be a strong security partner of the United States. So that was the first part, to make sure on the core things that we need to do today, that is all continuing. There is no change in that.
What the conversation about is as we take a long view, how can we take the steps now to make sure that we have the most sustainable long-term partnership, as there’s been a rapidly involving security environment, and an evolving security environment, frankly, than U.S. assistance began. How are we making sure that our assistance continues to meet these evolving needs in the long term while not making – putting in danger, putting in doubt, anything that we’re doing right now which is vital to U.S. security interests.
QUESTION: Did General al-Sisi pushback at all on any of these proposed cuts or reductions?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL NUMBER THREE: I don’t want to get into too of the details of the nature or the specifics of that conversation, but I would just say that this was part of a larger conversation, an ongoing conversation, the two of them have. And he really shared the goals that we’re both trying to go towards.
MODERATOR: Great, thank you so much Olivier. And our last question today is going to come from Steve Clemins of the Atlantic if Steve is still on. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Yes, hi. Let me make sure this is on. Yes. I’m going to be posting an interview tomorrow that I had with Secretary Hagel in which he described sending General al-Sisi a copy of Ron Chernow’s book on George Washington and emphasizing the chapter on leaving office. And my question is: Has there been any positive steps at all that we have heard from the – those running the Egyptian Government right now that has shown that they know where they need to go, that they’re going to proceed with an inclusive democratic front?
And a second part of this is, given the announcement today that President Morsy will be put on trial on November 4th, have we had any official response about that act and whether that helps the situation, whether it further deteriorates the situation, or is the United States taking no position at all on the trial of Morsy and others in the Muslim Brotherhood?
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL NUMBER TWO: Why don’t I go ahead and try to address that? This is the first I’m hearing that news, I’m sorry. I hadn’t heard that before, so I --
QUESTION: It’ll be out tomorrow, sorry.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL NUMBER TWO: I don’t have any – I can’t give you a reaction.
QUESTION: Well, I think the big issue is: have they indicated to us – have the Egyptians – Chuck Hagel has talked to General al-Sisi over 20 times. Have they essentially been giving us warm and fuzzy actions that they get what we’re saying and they continue to move in a different direction, or are they indicating that they are serious in any way whatsoever? I mean, obviously, we’re taking very negative actions, and I’m interested in when the kind of pleasant talk becomes a much more serious talk. We’re going to have President Morsy on trial on November 4th, and I assume that will be disruptive in the Egyptian political scene, and there may be steps down the road. But it’s important to know whether we’re hearing from the Egyptians whether they are understanding the seriousness of where the United States and probably Europe and other stakeholders in the region are on this.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL NUMBER ONE: Steve, it’s a fair question. I think, to be honest, there’s some of both. They are in many ways saying the right things. They have put forward a political roadmap that charts a course towards a new constitution and elections and democracy and participation. And when Secretary Hagel calls and when other senior Americans have called, we stress things that are important to us and get assurances about the importance of inclusivity and democracy.
But it’s important to us to see those things actually happen, and that’s why we have tied the continuation of some aspects of this assistance to just those developments, because frankly, there are also developments that point in the different direction, like the extension of the emergency law and some press restrictions and the Morsy trial that you talked about and a lot of opposition leaders in prison without charge.
So we think they are hearing us when we underscore these things that are important: freedom of speech and assembly, strong civil society, rule of law, minority rights. And like I say, they have indicated agreement and a desire to move in that direction. We want to be supportive of them as they move in that direction, and that’s what our approach to this important country is designed to help produce.
MODERATOR: Great. Well, thank you so much to all of our speakers and all of our participants. Just for folks who joined late, I will reiterate that every one of our speakers who answered questions, they’re all senior administration officials, so just to make sure everyone has the attribution. And thanks, everyone, for joining this afternoon. This concludes the call.