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POLITICS: PennAve

Pentagon halts F-16 transfers to Egypt

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The shipment of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt has been delayed due to the Middle Eastern country’s “fluid situation,” the Pentagon announced Wednesday.

“We believe it’s the prudent step to take given the fluid situation in Egypt at the moment. No date has been set for the resumption of the delivery. We remain committed to the Egyptian military relationship and this should not be construed as a wholesale change in our policy on military assistance to Egypt,” a senior defense official told the Washington Examiner.

The Obama administration is still trying to decide whether the military takeover of power in Egyp in early July constitutes a coup. Deeming it a military coup would make Egypt ineligible for certain types of U.S. aid.

Meanwhile, Congress is considering imposing conditions on future foreign aid to Egypt.

A Senate panel approved a proposal Tuesday that would provide up to $250 million in economic aid and $1.3 billion in military assistance to Egypt, as the president has requested for the next fiscal year.

However, the proposal would release the military aid 25 percent at a time, contingent on conditions.

The first quarter of the aid would be provided immediately; the second quarter after the secretary of State has certified that the Egyptian government supports an “inclusive political process”; the third quarter after a democratic election is held and a new government is put into place; and the final quarter if the elected government governs “democratically” and takes steps to “protect the rights of women and religious minorities.”

The measure has been approved by the Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, but the full Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet taken up this proposal.

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