The White House on Monday condemned "explicit" calls to violence by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and said it would take its time to determine whether the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi was a military coup.
When asked how long it would take to determine whether Egypt's military had carried out a coup by forcing Morsi from power, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration was wary of moving "unnecessarily quickly."
Carney said the United States government will take the time it needs to determine whether or not to label the Egyptian military's overthrow of the government as a coup, which would determine whether aid would continue.
"We do not believe it is in our interest to make a precipitous decision or determination now," Carney told reporters at a briefing.
"This is an incredibly complex and difficult situation," said Carney, noting that millions of Egyptians had legitimate grievances with Mursi. "There are significant consequences that go along with this determination, and it is a highly charged issue for millions of Egyptians who have differing views about what happened."
Labeling the intervention a coup would require the United States to cut its $1.5 billion in assistance for Egypt and take away what little leverage Washington has with Cairo, leaving it with few options to help shape events in Egypt.
The U.S. government will take its time to review what happened in Egypt and monitor efforts by Egyptian authorities to forge an inclusive democratic process for the future, he said. He gave no indication how long this review might take.
"We will take the time necessary to do that in a way that is responsible and serves our longer term policy objectives," he said.
The United States also called on Egypt’s military to exercise "maximum restraint" after dozens of people were killed while demonstrating against last week's ouster of president Mohamed Morsi.
"Egypt's stability and democratic political order are at stake," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters during a briefing in which she said Washington "strongly" condemns violence on all sides.
The White House said on Monday that it is not in the best interests of the United States to immediately change its aid programme to Egypt.