US approves massive military sales to Egypt worth over $2.5 billion

Ahram Online , Wednesday 26 Jan 2022

The US approved on Tuesday two massive military equipment sales to Egypt comprising transport aircraft and radar systems, though the deal has not yet been finalised, according to the US State Department.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaks during a press conference following talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. AP

The sale included 12 Super Hercules C-130 transport aircraft and related equipment worth $2.2 billion, in addition to air defense radar systems worth an estimated $355 million.

The State Department said the deal would "support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a major non-NATO ally country that continues to be an important strategic partner in the Middle East," reported AP.

“We maintain that our bilateral relationship with Egypt will be stronger, and America’s interests will be better served, through continued US engagement to advance our national security interests, including addressing our human rights concerns,” it added.

According to AFP, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the sale "will improve Egypt's capability to meet current and future threats by providing airlift support for its forces by moving supplies, equipment, and people."

The aircraft can also be used for maritime patrol and rescue missions, it added.

The announcement comes four months after the State Department put a hold on $130 million in military aid budgeted for Egypt until Cairo “addresses specific human rights-related conditions."

The frozen sum is part of nearly $1.3 billion in assistance the US had been sending Egypt since 2017.

The US has been providing Egypt with foreign aid, including military assistance, since Cairo's 1979 peace deal with Israel.

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi launched in September the first homegrown National Strategy for Human Rights 2021-2026, labelling 2022 as the year of Civil Society.

In October, El-Sisi revoked a national state of emergency that had been in place for the past several years.

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