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Obama decides to resume military aid to Egypt

Obama decides to resume military aid to Egypt

Washington: US President Barack Obama told his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday that he will allow the delivery of F-16 aircraft as well as request annual military aid to Egypt, a media report said on Wednesday.

In their telephonic conversation, Obama informed al-Sisi that "he will lift executive holds that have been in place since October 2013 on the delivery of F-16 aircraft, Harpoon missiles and M1A1 tank kits," reported Xinhua.

The US suspension came after al-Sisi, then chief of the Egyptian armed forces, ousted then president Mohammed Morsi, installed an interim government and then launched a hard crackdown on Morsi's supporters. Some 700 million dollars of the 1.3 billion dollars in annual military aid to the Arab country also put on hold.

Obama "also advised President al-Sisi that he will continue to request an annual 1.3 billion dollars in military assistance for Egypt," the White House said in a statement.

Starting in fiscal year 2018, Washington will offer security aid to Cairo in the four areas of counterterrorism, border security, security on the Sinai Peninsula and maritime security, with "sustainment of weapons systems already in Egypt's arsenal," Obama told al-Sisi.

Obama "explained that these and other steps will help refine our military assistance relationship so that it is better positioned to address the shared challenges to US and Egyptian interests in an unstable region," the White House said.

Egypt is joining Saudi Arabia-led air raids on the Houthi rebels in Yemen, on top of its efforts to fight Islamist militants in North Sinai and Libya.

In his telephonic talks with al-Sisi, Obama also reaffirmed US concerns about Egypt's "continued imprisonment of non-violent activists and mass trials," the White House said.

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