Pentagon delays delivery of F-16s to Egypt

The United States has decided to delay the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt's military following its July 3 overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.

The F-16 is one of the Air Force's tactical aircraft.   FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The F-16 is one of the Air Force's tactical aircraft.

"Given the overall situation in Egypt right now, we thought it prudent to make this decision. The president ultimately made the decision with the unanimous consent of his entire national security team," Pentagon press secretary George Little said.

The jets were scheduled to be delivered at the end of July, but they now have been delayed for an undetermined period. The next shipment is scheduled for January.

However, Mr. Little said, the administration still believes it would not be in the best interests of the U.S. to "immediately change all of our assistance to Egypt."

The White House and State Department have not yet announced the results of a review on whether Mr. Morsi's deposal was a "coup."

If it is determined to have been a military coup, the U.S. would have to suspend $1.3 billion in annual military assistance to Egypt.

"We remain committed to the U.S.-Egypt defense relationship as it remains the foundation of our broader strategic relationship and serves as a pillar of regional stability," Mr. Little said.

He said the biennial U.S.-Egyptian military exercise "Bright Star" will go forward as planned.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered the decision to delay the F-16s in a phone call early Wednesday to Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the Egyptian military chief.


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