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U.S. will not declare whether coup occurred in Egypt: U.S. official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration told lawmakers on Thursday it does not intend to make a determination on whether a military coup occurred in Egypt, a senior U.S. official said, in a move that avoids a decision that would automatically force the cut-off of U.S. aid

Briefing members of Congress, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told them the administration was not legally bound to draw any conclusion whether or not the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi should be designated a coup, and that to make such a declaration would not be in the U.S. interest, the official said.

"We believe that the continued provision of assistance to Egypt, consistent with our law, is important to our goal of advancing a responsible transition to democratic governance," the official said. "We will work with the Congress to determine how best to continue assistance to Egypt."

(Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Eric Beech)

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