US to deliver fighter jets to Egypt despite Morsi’s ouster
Washington: The US is moving ahead with plans to deliver four F-16s to Egypt despite the ongoing debate about the military’s overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi and whether it legally constitutes a coup that could shut off aid to the country.
News of the impending weapons delivery to the Egyptian military came as the administration continued to make the case that it is staying neutral in the crisis. The White House and State Department reiterated the view on Wednesday that it would not be in the United States’ national security interests to interrupt US aid to Egypt, including to the armed forces, as would be required by law if Morsi’s ouster is determined to have been a coup.
At the State Department, spokeswoman Jen Psaki noted that aid to Egypt “has been around for quite some time and has a range of reasons as to why we do it.” The comments come after a week of violence and widespread demonstrations and as Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and other US leaders make repeated calls to their counterparts in Egypt urging an end to the violence and a quick transition to a civilian government.
Hagel has spoken to Egypt’s defence minister, Gen Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, eight times in the last nine days, with one phone call lasting as long as 45 minutes.