US to deliver four F16 fighters to Egypt

By Ellis Bolle, July 12, 2013

Officials in Washington have announced that the US will deliver four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt in the next few weeks.

The donation suggests that the Obama administration accepts the authority of the Egyptian military and the interim government, despite the US’s initial reluctance to show support for the military overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi.

The US has decided to continue the delivery of the fighter jets as part of its annual assistance of $1.3bn (£860m) to Egypt, the US’s second largest aid package after that handed Israel.

Washington is still debating whether to call the overthrow of the elected Egyptian President a military coup as doing so would, by law, require the Obama administration to halt further assistance to the country.

News of the impending delivery to the Egyptian military came as the administration continued to assert its neutral position in the crisis.

"We do not believe it is in the best interests of the United States to make immediate changes to our assistance programmes," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
The F-16s are part of an already agreed larger order of 20 planes - eight of which were sent to Egypt in January. The final eight are expected to be shipped later this year.

Last updated: 3:25pm, July 12 2013