US warns Egypt against completing Russian fighter deal

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The United States is trying to dissuade Egypt from moving ahead with a deal to buy Russian fighter jets and the Egyptian government has threatened sanctions if it completes, a senior State Department official said on Thursday.

The official said in a press briefing that Washington was still working with Egypt to discuss its defense needs, “but we were also clear with them that if they wanted to get important Russian equipment … it puts them at risk of sanctions.”

The United States has been providing billions of dollars in economic and military aid to Egypt, whose military uses US F-16s.

Earlier this year, Egypt signed a $ 2 billion deal with Russia to buy more than 20 Sukhoi-35 fighter jets.

Washington could impose sanctions under the Katsa Act, which targets military purchases from Russia.

“They know that and we are working with them to address this,” the official said.

The United States says the use of Sukhoi fighter jets and other Russian military systems poses a threat to the country’s ability to work jointly with US and NATO armies.

Washington has also made similar threats to Turkey, which has already bought Russian missile defense systems but has not yet turned them on.

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