The State Department on Tuesday announced that it has approved $2.5 billion in proposed arms sales to Egypt, including several aircraft and air defense radar systems.
The State Department approved a $2.2 billion sale to the Egyptian government for 12 C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft and related equipment and a separate $355 million sale for three SPS-48 Land Based Radars and equipment.
“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,” reads the press release for both sales.
“The proposed sale will improve Egypt’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing airlift support for its forces by moving supplies, equipment, and people, thus strengthening its capacity in the security and humanitarian arena,” it continues.
The U.S. has provided Egypt $1.3 billion in military aid annually, of which $300 million is attached to certain conditions.
Last year, due to human rights concerns, the State Department decided to give Egypt $170 million of the $300 million and attach conditions to the remaining $130 million.
Earlier on Tuesday, Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee led by chairman Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) urged the State Department to stand by its decision, citing concerns over political prisoners and human rights abuses.
State Department spokesman Ned Price dodged questions on Tuesday about whether the arms sales are part of the embattled military aid.
“Our relationship with Egypt is fundamentally important across any number of realms when it comes to regional security when it comes to counterterrorism,” Price said. “And so, of course, we would like to see that relationship strengthen even more, and one way to do that is additional progress in human rights.”