US To Deliver Helicopters to Egypt, Clears Partial Military Assistance

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-04_d779e81131.jpgiStock/Thinkstock (CAIRO) -- The United States cleared Egypt to receive some military assistance, following a conversation Tuesday between Secretary of State John Kerry and Egyptian foreign minister Nabil Fahmy. The Obama administration approved the delivery of 10 Apache helicopters in support of Egypt's counterterrorism operations in Sinai, in hopes that it will help the country's government counter extremists threatening American, Egyptian, and Israeli security.

In a call with Fahmy, Kerry informed the foreign minister that Egypt is sustaining its relationship with the United States and upholding its obligations under the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty. Though he addressed the country's importance as a "strategic partner" for the U.S., Kerry said "he is not yet able to certify that Egypt is taking steps to support a democratic transition," according to a statement by State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

In addition to the secretary of state's conversation, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke with Egyptian Minister of Defense Col. Gen. Sedki Sobhy on Tuesday to inform him of the upcoming military assistance.

"This is one element of the president's broader efforts to work with partners across the region to build their capacity to counter terror threats, and is the United States' national security interest," a readout from Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby explained.

Still, full certification that Egypt is on a path to democracy is needed for further aid.  Hagel urged the Egyptian government to show progress on "a more inclusive transition" respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

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