Kerry reassures Egypt over Apache delivery
AFP

WASHINGTON:  Secretary of State John Kerry told his Egyptian counterpart Friday that the United States intends to make good on its promise to deliver 10 Apache helicopters to help Cairo’s counterterrorism efforts.

Kerry announced in June that he was “confident” Egypt would receive the helicopter gunships soon, and reiterated that in his phone call to Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, a senior State Department official said.

“Secretary Kerry informed Shoukry that the United States intends to move forward on deliveries of Apache helicopters to the Egyptian military, which we believe are a critical tool that will help the Egyptian government in its counterterrorism efforts,” the official said.

Kerry made the call as part of the ongoing discussions on the Gaza ceasefire, the fight against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria, and regional counterterrorism efforts, the official added.

“The secretary reaffirmed the United States’ support for the helpful role that Egypt played in reaching the ceasefire in Gaza. He also discussed Egypt’s efforts in countering threats from extremist groups, particularly in the Sinai,” he added.

Each year the United States allocates $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt, including $1.3 billion in military assistance.

This was frozen in October last year on condition that democratic reforms be enacted after the July 2013 military-led overthrow of Islamist elected president Mohamed Morsi and a vicious crackdown on his followers.

Washington said in April it planned to resume some of the annual aid for counterterrorism efforts in the Sinai Peninsula.

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