WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of Senate Armed Services Committee, today introduced legislation to conditionally suspend certain military sales to Egypt, including the F-16.
"For months, I have been calling on the President and his Administration to delay F-16 deliveries to Egypt," said Inhofe. "I still am insisting the Administration suspend this transaction to Egypt. Today there was an effort on the Senate floor to cut off all sales of military equipment, including future F-16s, to Egypt. While the intent is understood, the prohibition would cost taxpayers $2.2 billion and would rob the U.S. of leverage to put Egypt on the path toward true democracy.
"For decades, the U.S. has had a good relationship with Egypt, training their troops and working together to maintain peace and stability in the region. Under Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi, this relationship has come to a halt. We need to continue to support the Egyptian military, which Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have currently distanced themselves from. Egypt’s military is our friend – Morsi is our enemy.
"Today I have introduced a bill to delay any further deliveries of F-16s until the president certifies to Congress that the Government of Egypt agrees (1) to continue to uphold its commitments under the Camp David Peace Accords, (2) to provide proper security at United States embassies and consulates, (3) to bring stability to its nation by ending its systematic exclusion and silencing of all official minority political opposition, and (4) to take concrete steps to engage in dialogue with such opposition parties and consider a coalition, power-sharing government with such opposition parties. I believe that won’t happen until Morsi is gone, and we’ve got to keep this leverage to make this happen."
The foreign aid package that includes the F-16s was agreed to in 2010 while under Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Inhofe has led the effort in requesting the administration to delay delivering the F-16 jets to Egypt. On Dec. 17, 2012, Inhofe sent a letter to Secretary Hillary Clinton requesting that the State Department delay the planned delivery of 20 F-16 fighter jets to Egypt until Congress had further time to review the transfer.
On Jan. 8, Inhofe received a response from the State Department stating it was in the best interest of the U.S. to proceed with the delivery. On Jan. 22, the first four F-16s of the planned 20 jets were delivered to the Government of Egypt. On Jan. 25, Inhofe sent a letter to President Obama expressing his disappointment in the State Department’s decision and reiterated his request for action.
A copy of the bill is available by clicking here.