US prepares for $691m military sale to Egypt

Egyptian government requesting more than 5,000 TOW missiles

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a meeting with Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry in Washington in April. AFP
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US President Joe Biden's administration is preparing a federal military sale to Egypt, the State Department said in a release notifying Congress on Thursday.

The department said Egypt's government had requested the purchase of more than 5,000 TOW missiles, support equipment and spare parts, as well as tools for the necessary tests. Egypt has also asked the US for technical and logistical support.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a major non-Nato ally that continues to be an important strategic partner in the Middle East,” the State Department release read.

The sale is expected to amount to $691 million.

The executive branch is required to notify US Congress before any significant foreign military sale.

“The proposed sale will enhance Egypt’s capability to strengthen its homeland defence by replenishing its stocks,” the release said.

“The missiles will be used for counter-terrorism and border security against armoured threats and fortified positions.”

US military sales and aid to Egypt have been mired in debate recently due to concerns in Washington over the country's human rights record.

The Biden administration announced a $2.2 billion sale of C-130 Super Hercules planes to Egypt in January, but Republican Rand Paul as well as Democrats tried to block the sale in the Senate.

The administration also blocked $130m in military aid to Egypt in February.

A State Department fact sheet in April said US policy is to “promote a stable, prosperous Egypt, where the government protects the basic rights of its citizens and meets the current and future needs of its large and growing population”.

Updated: May 19, 2022, 10:48 PM