The US is moving ahead with plans to deliver four F-16s to Egypt despite the ongoing debate about the military’s overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi and whether it legally constitutes a coup that could shut off aid to the country.
Defence officials say senior administration leaders discussed the delivery and decided to let it continue. The fighters are part of a $1.3 billion package approved in 2010 that included 20 F-16s and some M1A1 Abrams tank kits. About half of the aid package has been dispersed, officials said according to IOL news website
News of the impending weapons delivery to the Egyptian military came as the administration continued to make the case that it is staying neutral in the crisis.
The White House and State Department reiterated the view Wednesday that it would not be in U.S. national security interests to interrupt U.S. aid to Egypt, including to the armed forces, as would be required by law if Mr. Morsi’s ouster is determined to have been a coup.
“We do not believe it is in the best interests of the United States to make immediate changes to our assistance programs,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters, adding that the administration is going to take its time to make any determinations about the removal of Mr. Morsi from power.
Meanwhile ,on Wednesday, arrest warrants were issued for the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, and nine other senior figures in the movement.
They are charged with inciting Monday’s deadly violence in the capital, in which more than 50 Brotherhood supporters, a soldier and two policemen died.
The Brotherhood says the army fired on peaceful demonstrators and it is accusing the interim authorities of a cover up. The military, however, say soldiers acted in self-defence after being attacked by armed assailants.