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Sisi: US will send Apache helicopters next month

Washington will deliver Apache helicopters to Cairo next month; Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi reported the US Secretary of State John Kerry as saying.

This came during a meeting between Kerry and Al-Sisi at the headquarters of the Egyptian presidency, east of the capital, in the presence of Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian foreign minister, according to a statement issued by the Egyptian presidency.

In the statement, Ambassador Alaa Youssef, the presidential spokesman, said that “the meeting dealt with a number of topics related to bilateral relations and political developments in Egypt, where minister Kerry stressed his country’s support for the ongoing reforms in Egypt, especially the efforts related to the economic transformation, explaining that Washington will deliver the Apache helicopters to Egypt over the next month.”

According to Youssef, Kerry pointed to “the intention of a delegation of investors to visit Egypt in November to explore the available investment opportunities in the country.”

Commander of the Egyptian Air Force Younis Al-Masry said, in comments reported by Egypt’s official news agency earlier in the day, that his country will receive a batch of Apache helicopters from America soon, without referring to a specific date.

On August 29, the US announced that it would implement the American Apache helicopters deal with Cairo to enable the Egyptian army to combat terrorist groups in Sinai, without identifying a specific date for delivery.

Since the ouster of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, relations between Washington and Cairo have been tense, most notably on October 2013 when the US administration announced its intention to suspend part of its annual military aid to Egypt, including 10 Apache aircrafts, until “Egypt takes steps on the road to democracy”.

However, last April Washington lifted the ban on the delivery of the Apache helicopters to Egypt, to support the “anti-terrorism” operations in the Sinai Peninsula, on the Egyptian border with Israel.

Washington provides Egypt with about $1.5 billion in annual aid, including $1.3 billion in military aid, since Cairo signed the peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

The Egyptian presidential spokesman went on to say: “The American foreign minister praised Egypt’s lively role in the organisation and success of the Gaza reconstruction conference.”

For his part, Al-Sisi stressed “the importance of reaching a final settlement of the Palestinian issue to put an end to the repeated confrontations between the Palestinians and Israelis to ensure the achievement of peace and stability and preserve the reconstruction efforts, as well as to eliminate one of the most important causes taken by extremist groups as pretexts to justify their terrorist acts.”

The International Conference for the Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip was held on Sunday in Cairo. The conference came following the Israeli war on Gaza which lasted 51 days and destroyed thousands of homes and buildings in addition to infrastructure. During the conference, donors pledged $5.4 billion, half of which was earmarked for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

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