U.S. aid to Egypt could suffer if Egypt persists in prosecuting 43 people, including 19 Americans, in a crackdown on nongovernmental organizations, White House and State Department officials said Monday.
"We have underscored how serious a problem these actions are. We have said clearly that these actions could have consequences for our relationship, including regarding our assistance programs," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland reiterated the message moments later in a separate briefing. She declined to speculate about possible consequences but said the dispute "is a very, very difficult situation in terms of the support we want to provide Egypt."
Egyptian authorities carried out 17 raids on the offices of 10 NGOs in December. A spokesman with the general prosecutor's office said the raids were part of an investigation into allegations that the groups had received illegal foreign financing and were operating without a proper license.