The United States will still deliver four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, despite recent political unrest that ousted the nation’s leader, President Mohammed Morsi.
While the ousting has not been officially called a coup by the United States, other world powers have called it that. The jets will likely be delivered to Cairo in August as part of the annual aid package sent to the Middle Eastern nation.
However, should the United States label Morsi’s overthrow as a coup, US law would require all aid to Egypt to be halted, including the F-16s. The country’s military currently receives the majority of the $1.5 billion the United States sends it annually.
A US official told Reuters on Wednesday, “There is no current change in the plan to deliver F-16s to the Egyptian military.” While anonymous sources have commented on the US’ F-16 delivery to Egypt, White House spokesman Jay Carney stated when asked, “It’s our view that we should not … hastily change our aid programs.”
Carney also referred further requests to the Department of Defense, which issued a statement that echoed President Barack Obama’s last week.
Defense officials talking to The Associated Press have added that senior administration leaders discussed the upcoming delivery of F-16s and decided it should be allowed to continue. The F-16 fighter jet is made by Lockheed Martin and Egypt is the first Arab country to purchase them.
US aid is very important to Egypt. So much so that former President Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party warned before the leader took power that Egypt would reconsider its peace deal with Israel if the United States were to cut foreign aid. Along with the four F-16s in August, the United States is supposed to deliver eight more of the fighter planes in December.
The jets are a package of 20 F-16s purchased through foreign aid money. Eight of them have already been delivered. Egypt is currently one of the world’s largest recipients of aid from the United States since its 1979 peace treaty with Israel.
[Image by Morio via Wikimedia Commons]