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U.S. will reconsider Egypt aid based on performance: Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM) base in Subang, outside Kuala Lumpur, October 10, 2013. R
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM) base in Subang, outside Kuala Lumpur, October 10, 2013. R

By Lesley Wroughton

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - The United States will consider resuming aid to Egypt "on the basis of performance" that encourages democracy through elections, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday, a day after Washington halted some aid to Cairo.

Speaking shortly after arriving in Malaysia, Kerry said the suspension of some aid to its regional ally did not mean Washington was severing ties with the army-backed government in Cairo over the ousting of President Mohamed Mursi on July 3.

"The interim government understands very well our commitment to the success of this government... and by no means is this a withdrawal from our relationship or a severing of our serious commitment to helping the government," Kerry told reporters.

Washington announced on Wednesday it would withhold deliveries of tanks, fighter aircraft, helicopters and missiles as well as $260 million in cash aid in a bid to ensure Cairo follows a political "roadmap" unveiled after Mursi's removal.

"We will continue to make certain the roadmap remains a primary goal for the interim government because I believe they do want to continue the relationship in a positive way with the United States," Kerry said.

"We want this government to succeed but we want it also to be the kind of government that Americans feel comfortable supporting," he added.

Kerry said restoring the aid would depend on steps taken by the Egyptian government to move toward a political transition.

"As we see this roadmap evolve and actually be met, which the government has said, we expect the renewal of certain of those systems as it is deemed by the President of the United States to be relevant to that particular moment and to the relationship.

"So this will be on a basis of performance and it will be on the basis of what evolves over the course of the roadmap in the next months," he added.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Gareth Jones)