Egypt and the U.S. marked the delivery of new F-16 aircraft to the North African country, part of military aid that some U.S. lawmakers are questioning.
The four aircraft are among 20 F-16s that will arrive in Egypt over the course of the year, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo said in an e-mailed statement today. “The F-16s are part of the $1.3 billion in the Foreign Military Financing program from the U.S. in annual military and security assistance to Egypt, to improve Egypt’s defensive capabilities and support Egypt’s contributions to regional security that counter terrorist threats,” it said.
“Today’s ceremony demonstrates the firm belief of the United States that a strong Egypt is in the interest of the U.S., the region, and the world,” U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne W. Patterson was cited as saying in the statement. “We look to Egypt to continue to serve as a force for peace, security, and leadership as the Middle East proceeds with its challenging yet essential journey toward democracy.”
U.S. lawmakers have questioned whether to continue sending aid to Egypt, setting the stage for possible cuts or conditions. Egypt’s transition since the 2011 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak has been marred by political tensions and bouts of violence. It gave rise to a constitution that the opposition says fails to guard rights. The second anniversary of the Jan. 25 uprising brought a new wave of deadly clashes between protesters and security forces.
The turmoil in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate won the presidential election last year, coincides with intense pressure on Congress to cut federal spending.