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Wed 1 Apr 2015 11:48 AM

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Obama lifts hold on US military aid to Egypt

Washington will, however, stop allowing Cairo to buy equipment on credit starting in fiscal year 2018

Obama lifts hold on US military aid to Egypt
Barack Obama. (Getty Images)

President Barack Obama on Tuesday told Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi that he would lift a hold on US military aid to Cairo, but also said the United States would stop allowing Egypt to buy equipment on credit starting in fiscal year 2018.

Obama has been reviewing military aid to Egypt since 2013 when the Egyptian army ousted former president Mohamed Mursi. The decision will allow for the delivery of 12 F-16 aircraft, 20 Harpoon missiles, and up to 125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits that had been frozen, the White House said.

Obama said he would continue to ask the US Congress for $1.3 billion in military aid for Egypt per year, but has decided to "modernise" the aid by discontinuing the use of cash flow financing for military equipment starting in fiscal 2018, the White House said.

The United States also will target its aid toward equipment used for counterterrorim, border security, maritime security and Sinai security, and for sustaining weapons systems already used by Egypt, the White House said.

"In this way, we will ensure that US funding is being used to promote shared objectives in the region, including a secure and stable Egypt and the defeat of terrorist organisations," said Bernadette Meehan, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, in a statement.

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