Egyptian PM Says U.S. Aid Suspension Would Be a 'Bad Sign'

Hazem el-Beblawi tells ABC News' Martha Raddatz that he does not fear a civil war will occur.
14:08 | 08/20/13

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Transcript for Egyptian PM Says U.S. Aid Suspension Would Be a 'Bad Sign'
This is a special report from ABC. Hello everyone I'm Devin Dwyer in New York with this ABC news digital special reports Egypt on edge the military today arrested the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. A move which could push the group to become more radical and more violent ABC's Karen Travers has been following the tension in the turmoil. And joins us now from Washington hi Karen what can you tell us. Good afternoon DeVon -- Washington and the White House seemed to be really taking a watch and wait approached all of this they're really not making any specific statements that really tiptoeing around questions about what's gonna happen next. And -- and countless senior administration officials keep saying this isn't a problem that the US can solve. It's up to the Egyptian people. The streets of Cairo or. Quieter today but there are still underlying tensions overnight Egyptian security forces arrested and detained the spiritual guide of the Muslim Brotherhood. Part of an ongoing crackdown of loyalists and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morrissey. And there's more upheaval in the interim government. Last week Mohammad ElBaradei stepped down as vice president. The Nobel Peace Prize winner said he could stay on during violent crackdowns. And wouldn't have bloodshed on his hands. Today he's Indiana but he's now facing charges from his former colleagues who have effectively declared him an and any of the state. Here in Washington -- -- administration continues to tiptoe around questions about what the US can and should do next. More than a billion dollars in -- is set aside every year for Egypt's military administration officials repeatedly say there's no change in policy. The money not spending that -- that we have provided in the past Barrett this -- -- in the pipeline for us to. Provide moving forward. It's something that is under review -- The White House also says there are consequences. For the Egyptian government's recent actions. Last week President Obama announced the US will not participate in a military exercise and Egypt scheduled for next month the US is also delayed delivery of that sixteenths. We have serious interest. In Egypt. And that part of the world. This is a very complicated. -- And -- Egypt's interim prime minister told ABC's Martha Raddatz this morning in Egypt that any decision by Washington to cut military aid. Will be seen as a bad sign but -- also said we can always look for money elsewhere. As interest in carrots and he's not to cut too concerned about losing the money and that's it -- as I understand it because Egypt has some big supporters. In the region right now. Certainly doing -- -- and see how this is breaking down in the region now first of all the age the Egyptian interim prime minister did say the Russians right after that statement he said look for decades we were getting money from the Russian military's kind of implying perhaps they can go back there but -- in the region there is obviously a great concern about it in stable Egypt spreading to other parts and other countries. And what that would do for the region as a whole -- you have. Countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel strongly backing the interim government as well as the military and security forces. Because there is order in this is of course to nations that did not want to see the Muslim Brotherhood stay in power and possibly gain more power. White House officials keep saying we're not going to take sides were -- about one party over the other. But -- -- and I know from hearing that over the last couple of weeks you can only say that for so long as this situation gets more complicated like secretary -- said. And perhaps -- it descends back into the violence the White House my taxes need to consider taking sides or at least coming up with a better statement -- Yes certainly is a thorny situation there for the White House. For some close allies in the region ABC's Karen Travers in Washington thanks so much Karen. Art on our team coverage continues now with more in the interview from it Egypt's prime minister returned to ABC's Mohammed -- who's in Cairo Mohammed thanks for joining us on the phone you've been doing some excellent reporting there. I want to play some of the interview for you right now starting with his response to violence. When you Big Dig into open picture. -- you'll make your own conclusion. If -- -- thousand it means that these thousands of people victims of the police won't. That are victims and -- sites that are victims in -- when the police was more bad. There are victims in these distinctions -- home it's. Host the tents where I think it's me. -- mean government offices what affects cherishes what affects. So that's Egypt's prime minister and an exclusive interview with ABC's Martha Raddatz -- in Cairo right now and you heard and they are blaming the violence. On the brotherhood Mohamed is that why the military arrested the brotherhood spiritual leader. Why should they debt and that's that's partly the reason why they arrested the Brothers spiritual leader. But we've seen in the last week since you of these protests were violently dispersed last Wednesday. There -- in. Crackdown. On -- senior members of the brotherhood many of the one that we spoke to very openly that we're doing interviews on camera with. Now they're hiding the point where they're not telling people where they are they're not telling people we're moving here so sometimes moving. I was never -- the same night and police. To the entire senior leadership of the essentially -- on the -- Caught it says spiritual leader Mohammed but it's very thing you actually. In an apartment building that was close to this center where these protests took place. We got reports that you know there were some people in the neighborhood saw -- -- -- Let's listen -- and arrested -- the leaders profiles key is -- long standing member of the Muslim Brotherhood. You'd actually around -- the 1960s and seventies spent a lot of time in prison. Spending time in prison with -- founder of the Muslim Brotherhood does say that. -- disassembled was long standing links to the Brothers. Getting it behind bars -- the extent that for the police and the military but there are other -- there are other senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood. There are still out there on the run so you know as far as the police are concerned their -- -- finished quite just yet. A big step as you say for the military to keep arresting these leaders in the brotherhood but very interest in in the interview that you see now again ABC's Martha Raddatz in Cairo. An exclusive interview with the Egyptian prime minister who was very defensive about the crackdown in his justification for doing so let's take another look at -- and the government. Content won't war. Unless the woman who is expect. You can go to sleep without being conducted by Betty Katz -- street. You come want to live in the an environment where some people who don't know how to set to -- -- preventing people from going to put out. -- -- -- Egypt's prime minister there Mohammed talking about rule of law that. -- -- in -- -- aren't these sort of crackdowns potentially dangerous sending couldn't they be possibly making the brotherhood more violent. The incident big question this -- a million dollar question what is she consequences of this not just today not just moral but. Over the next several months and likely the next several years. Up until now the brotherhood has been sit. All of that senior leadership insisted. They're adopting a position of non violence but instead and when that series what could anyone that carry arms is no longer part of the Muslim Brotherhood -- want -- -- -- -- But the question is the longer this crackdown continues in the bottom of the brotherhood. Forced underground. You know will eventually run out of options and will they eventually. You know -- turned their back on that nonviolent approach and that you know if licenses the only way to get this done. Maybe the approach they will adopt it's still it's still too early to see whether or not that would happen but certainly that's that's the big -- And certainly is and it's certainly a big fear for the relationship between the United States and Egypt that you watched very closely now on to strained right now as you know. What a play one last clip for you from the interview here the prime minister saying he didn't really think that the US appreciates the will of the Egyptian people take a look. The same people who gave their reports. To the -- -- about the the government they went so. Angry about some of these facts is about the management of the -- patient. And some offense and found that the government was once cited. Spirited -- comment there Mohammed. Real quickly here I mean does the US had any allies right now in Egyptian politics where they swear they -- We don't want will be the best wherever -- describing that if this was a horse race the US might not have a good horse to bet on. -- simply because on the one and yet the Egyptian military. You know from the understand. They were warned about -- that the market and they were told don't believe we don't want much they decided to go anyway. And for that welcome. That apply to -- should be more inclusive politics and they -- -- the country. Again they refused. Now as for what allies the United States has that -- Egyptian politics what they can get some key allies. Egyptian -- know that Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait to all of whom are key US allies. -- strongly commend and support -- the Egyptian military. And in -- offering to replace the money. Egypt and then -- -- -- immediate US decides to pull that money on the table so you know it's possible that while it may not be able to to wreck. Influence over Egyptian politics immediately but influence -- those three countries who are very pro Egyptian military right now. -- ABC's -- we let in Cairo Mohammed you're doing excellent work over there please stay safe thanks so much for joining us. And again that interview with Mohammed -- rather with ABC's Martha Raddatz that Mohammed has been covering will appear tonight. On world news but right now I want to bring in ABC's dean Hughes over at the State Department and Washington dean and the aid to Egypt is a hot topic right now under pressure. But the Egyptian prime minister didn't seem very worried as you've as you've now learned -- let's take a listen again -- his response about the potential threat. To lose one point three billion dollars in critical. Military aid from the United States. -- -- prevent me. Pessimistic about the future of -- -- I can understand that is some misunderstanding. He's the US route reaction to the similar where he seemed in. Well -- -- the US is trying to as both Mohamed and care and said. Out walk a fine line. By both criticizing the Egyptian government but at the same time. Not -- to cut off all ties in trying to keep their options open because. As it's been pointed out by administration officials and also analysts. But the US needs Egypt in the region as an -- And and so you know this talk of cutting off the -- there's -- big split not just within the administration but also within congress. I think there's there's a lot swirling out there right now dean and know what this scene is where it goes what the downsides are. A potentially cutting it off might be give us a sense of what do we know about the -- itself how much is it and where's it going. Well the United States skids on average about one point three. Billion dollars in military aid to Egypt every year this has been going on basically since that Camp David accords in 1979. And they also -- in this last year we've also given. At least 250. Million dollars in. Economic -- now what that made by case is military equipment such as F sixteens. Tanks and other equipment like -- it also buys ads. Influence. And even if it's limited. And even the Egyptian government says it helps to secure -- -- peace agreement with Israel. In -- it is the only other aired nation besides Jordan to have a peace agreement with Israel and and with that. We all the United States also works with Israel and works with Egypt. To secure the Sinai. And to get special access to the Suez Canal and then also easy access to the Egyptian airspace. So certainly as you say there Israel and some of our other allies in the region want to see that money. In place we do know that there is a review underway right now at the administration. By the administration rather of this money -- potentially some of it could be cut off where do we stand right now. Well right now the administration has said that it's already cut off. Were halted some of the eight. Last month the administration stopped the -- -- or at sixteens that were in the pipe like to be sentenced. Last week you saw the halting the operation bright star indeed bi annual joint military exercise. And senator Leahy has said that the administration sent -- notice to congress saying that for the time being it is halting military -- now. It's important to note. That that halting of the military aid is not necessarily the policy. What the administration is saying is that it's not policy but it is what they're doing in practice. -- and they continued to maintain that they are reviewing and possibly reprogramming. How that aid to Egypt is going to ago. So this is -- in many ways a very fluid and very dynamic situation as this continues to unfold in Egypt ABC's. Daily -- that the State Department Dana thanks so much for joining us our full team coverage on Egypt will continue you can follow the latest at For now this has been an ABC news digital special report on Devin -- in New York thanks -- This has been a special report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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