US to Withhold Part of Military Aid to Egypt
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The US is reducing its military aid to Egypt following a crackdown by the authorities on the supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Mursi which has left hundreds of people dead and locked thousands more behind bars.
The US provides $1.5bn in aid each year to Egypt. While the State Department did not provide the total amount of the aid being cut, it amounts to hundreds of millions in mostly military aid.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US would withhold delivery of certain "large-scale military systems", as well as cash assistance to the Egyptian government, until "credible progress" is made toward an inclusive civilian government set up through free and fair elections.
"The United States wants to see Egypt succeed, and we believe the US-Egypt partnership will be strongest when Egypt is represented by an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government based on the rule of law, fundamental freedoms and an open and competitive economy," Psaki said in a statement.
Colonel Ahmed Ali, a spokesman for the Egyptian army, declined immediate comment, Al Jazeera reported.
The call for a civilian government comes amid increasing talk that General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the defence minister and the architect of Mursi's ouster, might run for president.
In an interview published this week with al-Masry al-Youm, an Egyptian newspaper, Sisi left the door open to a presidential bid, saying it was "God's will". Some pro-military campaigners have started a petition drive urging him to run.
Some of the items to be withheld include Abrams tanks, F-16 aircraft, Apache helicopters and Harpoon missiles, the Reuters news agency reported.
Psaki added that the US will continue to provide health and education assistance and money to help Egypt secure its borders, counter terrorism and ensure security in the Sinai.
Cutting or eliminating US aid to Egypt has been discussed for months, since the coup that ousted Mursi in early July.
Thousands of the Muslim Brotherhood, which supported Mursi, have been detained in the past two months, including Mursi himself and the movement's general guide Mohammed Badie.