WASHINGTON — The US is going ahead with plans to deliver four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt despite the political unrest in the country, senior American officials say.
It comes as Washington is continuing to evaluate last week’s overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi by the army.
US massive military aid to Cairo would have to be cut by law if the removal of the Islamist leader is determined by Washington to have been a coup.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which backs Morsi, is demanding his reinstatement.
Its supporters have been staging mass protests near Cairo’s barracks, where he is believed to be being held. On Monday, more than 50 Brotherhood loyalists were killed in clashes with the army.
The new authorities have not said where Morsi it, but a foreign ministry spokesman said he was in a “safe place” and being treated in a “very dignified manner”.
The US officials say Washington will deliver four F-16 fighter jets in the next few weeks.
They are part of an already agreed bigger order of 20 planes – eight of which were sent to Egypt in January. The final eight are expected to be shipped later this year.
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White House spokesman Jay Carney yesterday reiterated that it would not be “in the best interests of the United States to make immediate changes to our assistance programmes”.
He added that the administration would take its time to consider the implications of removing Morsi from power.
US military aid to Egypt is estimated to be $1.3 billion each year.
President Barack Obama has been careful not to use the word “coup” in relation to events in Egypt, as doing so would trigger the legal requirement to cut off aid. (BBC)