Uncategorized US to lift hold on military assistance to Egypt

US to lift hold on military assistance to Egypt

 

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

(AA) — President Barack Obama on Tuesday said he would release a hold on military assistance to Egypt.

Obama informed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi by phone that he would lift the executive hold on the delivery of F-16 aircraft, Harpoon missiles and M1A1 tank kits, according to a White House statement. 

The restrictions have been in place since October 2013. 

Obama’s move comes amid a Saudi-led intervention in Yemen in which Egyptians play a crucial role. 

The American president also pledged to request from Congress $1.3 billion in annual military assistance for Egypt.

The funding will allow Egypt to remain the second largest recipient of U.S. foreign military funding, behind Israel.

Beginning in fiscal year 2018, the U.S. will channel security assistance for Egypt to four categories – counterterrorism, border security, Sinai security and maritime security, Obama told Sisi.

The U.S. will also channel funds toward the sustainment of weapons systems already in Egypt’s arsenal, according to the statement. 

The decision to withhold military aid to Egypt followed a July 3, 2013, military coup by Sisi against Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president; and violent crackdowns on peaceful protestors in August.

But the imprisonment of nonviolent activists and mass trials continue.

White House National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said the administration has reviewed “the military assistance relationship” between the two states under the current circumstances in the Middle East. 

“The administration will use the flexibility provided by Congress in legislation this fiscal year to provide additional military assistance to Egypt,” she said, but financial withholdings regarding human rights and democracy records in Egypt will remain in place.  

“Beginning in fiscal year 2018, we will discontinue Egypt’s use of cash flow financing — the financial mechanism that enables Egypt to purchase equipment on credit,” she added.

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