[QODLink]
Middle East

US to deliver Apache helicopters to Egypt

Resumption of aid suspended last year will help "counter-terrorism" operations in Sinai Peninsula, Pentagon says.

Last updated: 23 Apr 2014 06:29
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
An Apache helicopter flies over Tahrir Square, Cairo, during pro-military protests last year [Getty]

The US is to deliver 10 Apache attack helicopters to Egypt, relaxing a suspension of aid imposed after the military removed Mohamed Morsi from the presidency last year.

News of the decision was conveyed by Chuck Hagel, the US defence secretary, to his Egyptian counterpart Sedki Sobhi on Tuesday.

The delivery will aid Egypt's "counter-terrorism" operations in the Sinai Peninsula, the Pentagon said.

"We believe these new helicopters will help the Egyptian government counter extremists who threaten US, Egyptian, and Israeli security," Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said.

John Kerry, US secretary of State, paved the way for the deal by certifying to the US Congress that Egypt had met key criteria for the US to resume some aid.

Those criteria included Egypt "upholding its obligations under the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty", the State Department said.

But Kerry noted in a call with his counterpart, Nabil Fahmy, that he was not yet able to certify that Egypt was taking steps to support a democratic transition.

The State Department said that Kerry urged Fahmy "to follow through on its commitment to transition to democracy - including by conducting free, fair, and transparent elections".

Egypt is to hold a presidential election next month which Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former army general who deposed Morsi, is expected to win.

Kerry also called on Egypt to ease restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly, and the media, she said.

Egypt has held four Al Jazeera journalists in jail for several months.

Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were arrested in December and accused of terrorism and reporting false news, although several court sessions have yet to provide any evidence for the charges.

A fourth journalist, Abdullah Elshamy, has been in prison without charge for six months.

Al Jazeera rejects the charges against its staff and calls for their immediate release.

Human Rights Watch, the US campaign group, earlier this month cautioned the US against resuming military assistance until the Egyptian government ended rights abuses and held violators accountable.

336

Source:
Al Jazeera And AP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.