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US: Egypt qualifies for military support to protect US and Israeli interests

Egypt has proven its support for US and Israeli interests in the Middle East so it is qualified to receive US military support, American media reported the US administration as saying on Tuesday.

Spokeswoman of the US Department of State Jen Psaki said that the Secretary of State John Kerry told his Egyptian counterpart Nabil Fahmi about the decision in a telephone call. He said the Egyptian government had "sustaining its strategic relationship with the United States and fulfilling its obligations to Israel".

Media reports noted that the decision had cleared the way for the delivery of 10 Apache attack helicopters.

The Washington Post described this incident saying: "The Pentagon is backtracking on a decision officials made last summer following the country's military coup and its violent aftermath." It added that Washington carried out this move despite being unable to meet congressional criteria for the full resumption of aid to Egypt.

The Pentagon said that the US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel informed his Egyptian counterpart Colonel General Sedki Sobhi of President Barack Obama's decision to deliver the Apache helicopters in support of Egypt's counterterrorism operations in Sinai.

"The secretary noted that we believe these new helicopters will help the Egyptian government counter extremists who threaten US, Egyptian and Israeli security," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

"This is one element of the president's broader efforts to work with partners across the region to build their capacity to counter terrorist threats and is in the United States' national security interest," Kirby added.

Chairwoman of the House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing foreign aid Kay Granger said, in a statement on Tuesday, that she was encouraged by the decision to deliver the helicopters, saying it was a critical time to support Egypt as it moves towards elections and deals with security challenges.

"As Egypt continues its transition towards a new democratic government," Granger said, "the United States must work with the government of Egypt and support the Egyptian people."

Fox news said that this move allows the US to release some of its annual $1.3 billion military assistance package to Egypt which was frozen last summer.

Israeli Channel 2 reported on Tuesday that Egypt is to sign a deal with Russia to buy 24 advanced MiG-35 fighter jets. Channel 2 cited official sources in Moscow and Cairo. The deal to purchase the aircrafts is worth $3 billion.

AfricaAsia & AmericasEgyptIsraelMiddle EastNewsUS
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