CAIRO: The U.S. embassy denied claims that Washington held onto Apache helicopters sent by Egypt for maintenance in an official statement released on April 1.
“The U.S. Embassy wishes to correct the record regarding recent, inaccurate reports claiming that the U.S. government is blocking the return of several Apache helicopters owned by the Egyptian Armed Forces that were sent to the United States for maintenance,” read the embassy’s statement.
Earlier in March, news had previously reported Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy as saying that helicopters owned by Egypt were sent to the U.S. for maintenance but the U.S. had blocked their return. His statements came after the U.S. refusal to supply 10 new AH-64 helicopters upon an “urgent” request by Egypt.
“In fact, one helicopter was sent to the United States for an upgrade. That upgrade is complete, and it is available to be shipped back to Egypt at any time,” the embassy published on April 1.
The U.S. military aid to Egypt (nearly $ 1.3 billion) had been halted following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi.
That aid was renewed shortly before Morsi’s ouster through efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who had met with Morsi in Cairo back in March 2013.
“Kerry quietly acted last month to give Egypt 1.3 billion military aid deciding that this was in the national interest despite Egypt’s failure to meet democracy standards,” Reuters reported on June 6, 2013.
“Democracy standards” violation was referring to government crackdown on NGO’s in 2011, and penalization of 43 NGO workers for receiving U.S. funds.
Egypt had begun receiving military economic aid from the U.S. following the peace treaty signed with Israel in 1979. According to a report by the Global Research Center, Egypt began purchasing 64-AH’s in 1995 at $ 11 million each, then bought 35 Apaches in 2000 at nearly the same price.