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U.S. halts delivery of F-16s to Egypt


08:25, July 25, 2013

WASHINGTON, July 24 (Xinhua) -- The Obama administration has decided to suspend delivery of F-16 fighter planes to Egypt, the Defense Department announced Wednesday.

"Given the current situation in Egypt, we do not believe it is appropriate to move forward at this time with the delivery of F- 16s," Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters.

The decision, made by President Barack Obama, was backed unanimously by his entire national security team, said Little.

"We remain committed to the U.S.-Egypt defense relationship as it remains a foundation of our broader strategic partnership with Egypt and serves as a pillar of regional stability," said Little.

Moving forward, Little said everything the U.S. side does and says "will continue to be focused on hastening Egypt's return to a democratically elected government as soon as possible, consistent with our legal requirements and our national security interests."

Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first elected president, was removed from power by the military earlier this month. Little said the decision to halt F-16 delivery did not signal that the U.S. sees Morsi was pushed out in a coup, which would mean suspension of military and economic aid to Egypt.

According to a 2010 deal, the United States is to sell 20 F-16 fighter jets to Egypt for a price of 2.5 billion dollars. Four were already delivered and four more were due to be shipped in coming weeks.

Little also said the United States would go ahead with a planned joint military exercise with Egypt.

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