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Lifting of Egypt arms suspension depends on rulers: Kerry

Last Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 23:38

Kuala Lumpur: Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that Washington`s suspension of military hardware deliveries to Egypt could be lifted based on the behaviour of the country`s rulers.

Kerry said the deliveries could resume if Cairo makes headway toward restoring civilian rule.

"So this would be on the basis of performance," he said during a visit to Malaysia.

"By no means is this a withdrawal from our relationship or a severing of our serious commitment to helping the government" transition to democracy, Kerry told reporters in the capital Kuala Lumpur.

Washington yesterday stopped shipments of some large-scale military systems as well as halting USD 260 million in cash aid to Egyptian military leaders, who ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.

The step was aimed at signalling Washington`s displeasure with the military rulers over a deadly crackdown against protesters and Islamists.

Egypt has criticised the US decision as "flawed" and said it would not bow to American pressure.

The decision, which marks a dramatic break with years of unqualified support to Cairo, will prevent deliveries of big-ticket items including Apache helicopters, F-16 fighter jets, M1A1 Abrams tank parts and Harpoon missiles, US officials told reporters.

Washington had already effectively shelved deliveries of expensive military hardware since a July 3 coup that ousted Morsi and a subsequent clampdown on his Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

In the wake of the summer`s events, President Barack Obama had ordered his national security team to review the total USD 1.5 billion in annual US aid to Egypt.

Kerry stressed, however, that the latest move was "not a withdrawal" of the US relationship with Egypt.

"We are going to continue, we want this government to succeed."

The review of Washington`s Egypt policy would remain in place "pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically-elected civilian government through free and fair elections", State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement yesterday.

First Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013 - 23:38

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