From the WorldTribune.com:
Priority delivery: U.S. to ship all 20 F-16s to Egypt in 2013
CAIRO — The United States has pledged to accelerate delivery of 20
F-16 multi-role fighters to Egypt in 2013.
Officials said Egypt would receive all of the F-16 Block 52 aircraft
this year. They said the arrival of the four aircraft marked the first
delivery of the F-16s in 2013 as part of cooperation between Egypt and the
Despite anti-government protests in Egypt, the United States is sending 20 F-16 fighter jets to the Cairo government as part of a $1.3 billion foreign aid package.
“The U.S. delivery of four aircraft is part of a group of 20 F-16s that
will arrive in Egypt over the course of the year,” the U.S. embassy said.
On Feb. 3, Egypt and the United States held a joint ceremony to mark the arrival of the four F-16s. So far, Washington has delivered 224 F-16 aircraft to the Egyptian Air Force.
“Our 34-year security partnership is based upon shared interests and
mutual respect,” U.S. ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson said. “The United States has long recognized Egypt as an indispensable partner.”
The F-16 delivery came after the Senate voted down an amendment to stop the F-16s and M1A1 main battle tanks to Egypt. The 79-19 vote ended an attempt by Sen. Rand Paul to stop the latest arms sales amid nationwide unrest against the Islamist regime of President Mohammed Morsi.
“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 improve Egypt’s defensive capabilities and support Egypt’s contributions
to regional security that counter terrorist threats,” the U.S. embassy said.
The administration of President Barack Obama acknowledged that the F-16
delivery was taking place amid rising unrest in Egypt. On Feb. 5, Defense
Secretary Leon Panetta urged his Egyptian counterpart, Abdul Fatah Sisi, not
to use the U.S.-financed Egyptian military against protesters.
“Secretary Panetta called Egyptian Minister of Defense Abdul Fatah Sisi
today to receive updates on the political situation in Egypt, the role of
the Egyptian Armed Forces during the recent protests, and express U.S.
commitment to the defense relationship,” a Pentagon statement said.
“Minister Sisi reiterated the Egyptian Armed Forces’ commitment to the peace
treaty with Israel, and underscored that his commitment that the Sinai will
not be used as a base to threaten Israel.”