U.S. legislation to resume aid to Cairo tied to Egyptian cooperation

WASHINGTON — Congress has approved the continuation of U.S. military aid to Egypt.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has approved legislation that would resume some $1.6 billion in annual U.S. aid to Egypt. The bill, which overwhelmingly passed the committee, linked U.S. aid to Egyptian cooperation with Washington.

This legislation reaffirms the enduring U.S. commitment to our partnership with the Egyptian government by authorizing continued assistance and endorsing the importance of ongoing cooperation,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Sen. Robert Menendez said.

The vote on Dec. 18 was seen as a rollback of the U.S. suspension of delivery of major combat platforms to Egypt four months earlier. In October, the administration of President Barack Obama said Egypt was being denied the F-16 multi-role fighter, AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, M1A1 main battle tank and the Harpoon anti-ship missile. In fiscal 2013, the administration withheld $560 million of the annual $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid to Cairo.

The legislation, titled Egypt Assistance Reform Act of 2013, provided President Barack Obama with a waiver that could resume arms deliveries to Egypt.

The Senate committee, members of which long called for a cutoff in aid, linked U.S. assistance to use of Egypt’s Suez Canal and air space as well as the peace treaty with Israel.