Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 | Posted by WorldTribune.com
For the first time ever, U.S. blocks military aid to Egypt
Special to WorldTribune.com
WASHINGTON — The United States has withheld more than a third of military aid to Egypt for fiscal 2013.
The administration of President Barack Obama decided to withhold $584 million of U.S. military aid to Egypt allocated for fiscal 2013. Officials said the money was deposited in the Federal Reserve Bank for future use.
“The president still has flexibility here,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “We still have the ability to control kind of how this is used.”
This marked the first time that Washington blocked U.S. military aid to Egypt, which received $1.3 billion per year since 1980. In August, the administration, in wake of the military coup against President Mohammed Morsi, also blocked the delivery of four F-16 Block 52 multi-role fighters to Cairo.
“No decision has been made about that,” Ms. Psaki said. “It still is under review.”
Officials said the administration decision was meant to protect U.S. aid to Egypt. They said any unspent aid not deposited could be used for other government purposes.
In a briefing on Oct. 1, Ms. Psaki said the deposit of the military aid would not hamper U.S. programs in Egypt. Congress has already approved more than $1.3 billion in military aid for Egypt in fiscal 2014, which began on Oct. 1.
“It typically goes to a federal account, but it’s not there yet,” Ms. Psaki said. “And either way, we still would approve purchases.”
The State Department also warned that the federal government shutdown
could hamper military aid to Israel. Israel was meant to receive $3.1
billion in fiscal 2014.
“The State Department’s ability to provide military assistance to Israel
and other allies in the time frame that is expected and customary could be
hindered, depending on the length of the shutdown,” State Department deputy
spokeswoman Marie Harf said on Oct. 2.http://www.worldtribune.com/2013/10/03/for-the-first-time-ever-u-s-blocks-military-aid-to-egypt/