US suspends delivery of F-16s to Egypt: Pentagon
Washington: The United States has decided not to go ahead with plans to supply Egypt with an additional four F-16 fighter jets due to unrest gripping the country, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.
"Given the current situation in Egypt we do not believe it is appropriate to move forward at this time with the delivery of F-16s," spokesman George Little told reporters.
"We remain committed to the US-Egypt defense relationship as it remains a foundation of our broader strategic partnership with Egypt and serves as a pillar of regional stability," he said.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel informed Egypt`s army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of the decision in a phone call earlier today, Little said.
The Egyptian Army chief, who led a coup on July 3 that ousted president Mohamed Morsi, called for mass protests today to back a crackdown on what he called "terrorism and violence" by Morsi supporters.
Sisi`s appeal also was discussed in Hagel`s phone call to the general, according to Little, who did not offer more details.
The Pentagon did not say specifically why it made the decision to delay the delivery of the fighter jets but said the US government wanted to see Egypt move quickly towards democratic rule.
"Moving forward, everything we do and say will continue to be focused on hastening Egypt`s return to a democratically elected government as soon as possible, consistent with our legal requirements and our national security interests," he said.
The US decision, however, did not signal that President Barack Obama`s administration had concluded that Morsi was pushed out in a coup, Little said.
The administration has refrained from saying Morsi was the victim of a coup, which would legally require a freeze on some USD 1.5 billion in US military and economic assistance to Cairo.
US officials were still reviewing whether events in Egypt could be labeled a coup, Little said.
Under a USD 2.5 billion deal signed in 2010, the United States is committed to providing 20 F-16 fighters to Egypt. Four jets were delivered earlier this year and four more F-16s were due to be shipped over in coming weeks.
Despite the decision to delay delivery, the United States would go ahead with a planned joint military exercise with Egypt, Little said.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Dengue cases on the rise in Delhi - Is the govt waiting for another epidemic?
- JNU student accuses fellow PhD scholar and AISA member of rape
- Sukhoi 30MKI posted in Arunachal Pradesh; Kiren Rijiju lauds development
- Olympic medalist PV Sindhu returns to Hyderabad; receives grand welcome
- Twelve-year-old ISIS suicide bomber caught and arrested in Iraq
- Revealed! How Diana Penty prepped up for her character in 'Happy Bhag Jayegi' – Details inside
- No more surge pricing for Ola, Uber, others; all taxis to charge govt-set fares in Delhi from today
- Flood situation remains grim in UP, MP and Bihar; Ganga flowing above danger mark
- Grand welcome back home: PV Sindhu, Pullela Gopichand thank Telangana government for wonderful reception
- Imtiaz Ali permitted Shah Rukh Khan to upload this picture from the sets of 'The Ring'! – View inside