Pro-Israel US Lawmakers Upset by Reported Plan to Sell Missiles to Egypt
Reports that the administration of US President George W. Bush is planning to sell sophisticated anti-ship missiles to Egypt have some US lawmakers concerned the sale could threaten Israel's military supremacy in the region, a congressional source said Tuesday, reported AFP.
The Washington Post newspaper reported Tuesday that the administration has proposed selling more than 50 Harpoon anti-ship missiles to Egypt for 400 million dollars.
The proposal came earlier this month in a confidential memorandum to congressional leaders, the Post said.
The congressional source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the proposal appeared to be a "trial balloon," but some members nevertheless expressed concern.
"I see no compelling reason for Egypt to receive these sophisticated anti-ship missiles given that Egypt faces no formal external threat," said Representative Tom Lantos, a Democrat and staunch supporter of Israel.
Fortune magazine ranks the pro-Israel lobby among the top five most powerful in Washington.
After Israel, Egypt is the second largest recipient of US military aid, reaping some 1.3 billion dollars a year.
The report comes amid US concerns over a reported missile deal between Egypt and North Korea.
A senior official has said the United States will ask Egypt to explain reports that it has concluded a secret deal with North Korea to buy long-range missiles.
"I have to expect that we would raise with the Egyptians these reports and find out from them what they have to say about them," the unnamed senior official from the State Department was quoted by AFP as saying on Tuesday.
The US action came after statements and reports from a diplomatic source were made available on the front page of one of the major North Korean newspapers.
The diplomatic source, who asked not to be named, was quoted by the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper as saying that "North Korea concluded the transaction secretly with Egypt earlier this year" to sell medium-range missiles and related technology to Egypt – Albawaba.com
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