Bracing for Apaches: US to resume military aid to Egypt
US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry that US gunship deliveries to Egypt held since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi a year ago will be released.
"The Apaches will come, and they'll come very very soon," Kerry said in response to a reporter's question on whether the halt of deliveries expressed US antagonism to Egyptian authorities.
Kerry also assured that the US is not dictating its agenda to Egypt via withholding aid. He said part of the aid being held has been released by the House of Representatives and is now being discussed in the Senate.
The issue will be resolved, he assured.
The US quietly sent around $572 million in aid to Egypt some 10 days ago after Congress finally approved its release, US officials said on Sunday.
The funds are the first tranche of some $1.5 billion in mostly military aid which has been frozen since October amid US administration demands that the Egyptian government introduce democratic reforms.
Kerry arrived in Egypt Sunday morning on his first official visit since the election of the country's new President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. On Thursday, he said he would be travelling to Europe and the Middle East this week, primarily to address the recent crisis in Iraq, where an Islamic militant group has taken over several key cities.
In Cairo, Kerry met with El-Sisi and Shoukry, who became Egypt's foreign minister with the formation of a new cabinet last week.
US-Egyptian relations have wavered since Morsi's ouster, with American officials criticising Egypt's interim authorities for maintaining a general crackdown on dissent that has since broadened to include secular activists, as well as supporters of the Islamist president, thousands of whom are currently in jail.
Washington said in April it would resume part of its annual aid to Cairo, including the delivery of 10 Apache attack helicopters that the Egyptian army says it badly needs for counterterrorism operations in the Sinai Peninsula.
The US sent a low-profile delegation to attend El-Sisi's swearing-in ceremony on 8 June, and Obama telephoned El-Sisi two days later to congratulate him on his election.
Kerry last visited Egypt on 3 November.