Obama speaks with UAE Crown Prince, Qatar Emir about Egypt concerns

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Tuesday spoke by phone to two Middle Eastern allies – Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani – to discuss concerns about violent protests in Egypt.

The phone calls came on a day when Gulf Arab states offered $8 billion in aid to Cairo in the wake of a military overthrow. The White House has said it will not immediately cut off aid to Egypt as it reviews the tense and evolving situation.

"The President encouraged the UAE to underscore in its engagements with Egyptians the importance of avoiding violence and taking steps to enable dialogue and reconciliation," the White House said in a statement about Obama's call with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

"The President and Emir Tamim agreed that a political process that includes participation by all parties and groups is critical for Egypt's stability," the White House said in a separate statement about Obama's call with Qatar's Emir.

The United States has cautiously welcomed a plan by Egypt's interim government to hold quick elections but has not addressed what White House spokesman Jay Carney called "the elephant in the room" of whether a coup had taken place.

By law, the U.S. government would be required to halt aid to Egypt if the military intervention was labeled a coup.