US to Review Aid to Egypt, White House Spokesman Says

January 28, 2011 - 4:57 PM

Robert Gibbs

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs answers questions on Egypt during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Friday, Jan. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Washington (AP) - The Obama administration threatened on Friday to reduce a $1.5 billion program of foreign aid to Egypt based on President Hosni Mubarak's response to swelling street protests in Cairo and other cities.

"Violence is not the response" to the demands for greater freedoms, said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

Gibbs said President Barack Obama had been briefed extensively about the fast-unfolding events but had not tried to speak with Mubarak by phone.

The White House spokesman's repeated calls for the government of Egypt to abandon violence was the latest response along those lines by the administration, struggling to keep abreast of a growing crisis inside a nation that has long been an ally in Middle East peace-making efforts, yet also has long denied basic rights to its own people.

Earlier, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the government in Egypt should restore access to the Internet and social media sites.

"We are deeply concerned about the use of violence by Egyptian police and security forces against protesters, and we call on the Egyptian government to do everything in its power to restrain the security forces," Clinton told reporters at the State Department.