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Egypt denies using US weapons on protesters

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Foreign Ministry spokesman says US spokeswoman comments are “ignorant of realities”

The foreign ministry described a comment by a United States State Department spokeswoman as “sheer fantasy” after she said that Egypt used US weapons “against their own people”.

Deputy Spokeswoman for the state Department Marie Harf was asked during a Thursday press briefing in Washington DC why military aid to Israel had not been suspended like it had been for Egypt in October 2013, given the large number of civilian deaths in Gaza.

Harf said the two situations “are totally different”, adding: “In Egypt, they were using them against their own people. In Israel, they are using them against a terrorist organisation to fight a terrorist organisation, which we believe is in legitimate self-defence”.

Spokesman for Egypt’s foreign ministry Badr Abdelatty said in a Saturday statement that Harf’s comments “fall short and are completely ignorant of realities of matters in Egypt”. Abdelatty further challenged Harf, asking for specific examples of “the suppression of protesters using US military aid”, adding it was “not mentioned because it is sheer fantasy”.

He continued by saying that Egypt needs the delivery of Apache helicopters and F-16 jets to “respond to terrorist acts that killed many members of the armed forces and the police who protect our borders and innocent civilians” adding that this is an issue the “entire international community, including the United States, need to resist firmly”.

The US suspended the delivery of military aid to Egypt in October 2013 pending “credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections”. In June US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Cairo, which coincided with the announcement that $572m worth of military aid had been delivered to Egypt.

Abdelatty also said that Harf’s comments were “lacking the most basic rules of credibility and objectivity through an unacceptable and unjustified comparison between Egypt and Israel”. Harf insisted more than once that the two situations were different in the Thursday briefing.

About the author

Joel Gulhane

News Reporter

Joel Gulhane is a journalist with an interest in Egyptian and regional politics. Follow him on Twitter @jgulhane


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