Mon, Dec 22, 2014 - Page 6 News List

Egypt receives 10 Apache choppers: US

AID RESUMED:The US has partially resumed its annual US$1.5 billion in assistance after last year’s military takeover deposed former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi

AFP, WASHINGTON

The US has delivered 10 Apache helicopters to Egypt in recent weeks after lifting part of a freeze on aid to the north African nation, a US official said on Saturday.

US Secretary of State John Kerry had been promising Cairo’s new leadership that the aircraft — aimed to join counterterrorism operations in the Sinai Peninsula — would be delivered soon.

“They got there a few weeks ago,” a US senior administration official told reporters.

Kerry said in June that he was “confident” that Egypt would receive the helicopter gunships soon, and reiterated that in a telephone call to Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry.

The US annually allocates about US$1.5 billion in aid to Egypt, including US$1.3 billion in military assistance.

The aid was frozen in October last year on the condition that democratic reforms be enacted after last year’s military-led overthrow of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in July and a vicious crackdown on his followers.

Washington said in April that it planned to resume some of the annual aid for counterterrorism efforts in the Sinai Peninsula.

US President Barack Obama spoke to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday last week and expressed concern over mass trials, and the continued detention of journalists and peaceful activists.

During a telephone call, Obama encouraged al-Sisi to “invest in the political, economic and social aspirations of the Egyptian people,” the White House said.

“President Obama also expressed concern about mass trials, the status of non-governmental organizations and the continued imprisonment of journalists and peaceful activists in Egypt,” the statement said.

Egypt’s military has been battling an insurgency on the peninsula since it overthrew Morsi last year and cracked down on his supporters.

The government declared a state of emergency in parts of North Sinai after an Oct. 24 suicide attack near El-Arish killed 30 soldiers in the deadliest assault on security forces since Morsi’s ouster.

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