US sending long-awaited Apaches to Egypt

Spokesperson for the US State Department Jen Psaki said on Thursday that the United States is in the process of sending the promised Apache helicopters to Egypt.

The long-awaited Apaches have been promised and withheld in cycles, mirroring fluctuating relations between the US and Egypt since the removal of former President Mohamed Morsi from power. In October last year, the US partially froze military aid to Egypt, including 10 Apaches, citing concerns over the nation’s commitment to human rights and democracy.

Recent developments in the fight against the Islamic State in the region have led to more meetings between US and Egyptian officials and a seemingly renewed commitment to the bilateral relationship.

Psaki stated in a presser that Egypt and Qatar are part of the international coalition against the Islamic State and have participated in several meetings together, including one in Jeddah attended by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

According to the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper, Psaki added that Egypt is an important country in the war against the Islamic State, adding that the marine general leading the coalition — John Allen, and deputy special presidential envoy — Ambassador Brett McGurk, met recently with Egyptian officials.

The spokesperson also praised Egyptian officials for being outspoken against Islamic State brutality.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, met with officials from 21 countries forming part of the international coalition against the Islamic State, including Egypt, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on Thursday. Other countries include: Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, France, Belgium, Canada, Spain, Lebanon, Denmark, Kuwait, Jordan, New Zealand, Qatar, Turkey, Australia and Holland.

Pentagon spokesperson Steve Warren said that the meeting, held at Andrews’s airbase in Maryland, was a good chance to evaluate the progress the coalition has achieved to date and continue coordinating with participating countries.

Al-Masry Al-Youm added that US president Barack Obama said the campaign against the Islamic State is still in its first stages, and initial air raids prevented militants from taking over Erbil in Iraq, in addition to reclaiming the Mosul Dam.    

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