Egypt: US goes ahead with F-16 delivery despite domestic tensions

US says it will continue giving assistance to country as overthrow of Mohamed Morsi was not a coup

Jonathan Paige
Thursday 11 July 2013 10:52
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F16 jets supplied by the US fly over Tahrir square in Egypt
F16 jets supplied by the US fly over Tahrir square in Egypt

The United States still plans to go through with the delivery of four F16 fighter jets to Egypt in the coming weeks, even after the Egyptian military's removal of Mohamed Morsi.

Washington has been careful not to describe the overthrow of Morsi as a coup and says it needs time to consider the situation.

If the US did decide that Morsi's removal was a coup, it would be required by law to halt aid to Egypt's military, which receives much of the $1.5 billion the US gives annually to the country.

The four F16 jets, built by US manufacturer Lockheed Martin, are a part of the aid package.

"There is no current change in the plan to deliver F-16s to the Egyptian military," said an anonymous US source.

Asked about the F16s, White House spokesman Jay Carney said: "It's our view that we should not ... hastily change our aid programs."

The Pentagon has issued a statement echoing President Barack Obama's comments that he has ordered a review of US assistance to Egypt. Asked whether Obama's review had put the F-16 delivery on hold, a US official said: "The delivery remains scheduled as planned."

Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's biggest supplier, and a key part of the US military-industrial complex, declined to comment.

Egypt was the first Arab country to buy F16s, and has received massive amounts of military aid from the US since it signed a 1979 peace treaty with Israel, despite a questionable record on human rights.

Another eight F16s are due to be delivered in December. The jets are part of a package of 20 F16s, of which eight have already been delivered.

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