Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after leading more than 35 Members of Congress in sending a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry urging them to reevaluate the continued foreign military support provided to Egypt:
"On the day Egypt rolls out the red carpet for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I'm asking President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry to stop the delivery of 16 new F-16 aircraft for Egypt. President Morsi's recent and previous anti-Semitic and anti-American statements, as well as increased religious persecution and civil rights violations perpetrated by his government, are cause for great concern. It is critical that his newly-established government demonstrate its support for the U.S. and Israel -- our key ally in the region -- before we continue providing them with foreign military support."
The deal to provide these F-16s to Hosni Mubarak's Egyptian government originated in 2009, when the proposal was brought to Congress for purchase and delivery of 20 F-16s through the Foreign Military Financing Program (FMFP). In 2010, the U.S. government awarded a $213 million contract to Lockheed Martin for the production of 20 new F-16 aircraft for Egypt. Since then, Egypt has undergone a significant political shift, and after the fall of President Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood was legalized and launched a new political party, the Freedom and Justice Party, which is now considered the most powerful political player in Egypt with their former leader, Mohamed Morsi, elected as the new president.
Although four of these aircraft have already been delivered to Egypt, Griffin is asking the White House to stop the transfer of additional aircraft and other military assistance until Egypt's government demonstrates its alliance with the U.S. and respect for Israel and its people.