The US has signed off on a $197 million arms sale, containing 168 tactical missiles, to the Egyptian government, despite the Biden administration raising concerns over potential human rights abuses in the country.
The US State Department announced that the government has approved the deal after the Egyptian Navy requested the Rolling Airframe Missiles to bolster its defense capabilities around the Red Sea, as the nation is seen as “an important strategic partner in the Middle East.”
Congress will now review the deal and the State Department’s approval before it is formally confirmed.
The Biden administration has proceeded despite recently raising concerns about human rights abuses in the nation, including a US citizen who has alleged that they were tortured by authorities while detained in Egypt, as well as harassment against members of their family.
Mohamed Soltan, an Egyptian-American human rights activist, spent two years in prison in Cairo due to what he claims was a campaign to silence him and his work. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s supporters have refuted Soltan’s claim, accusing him of being a terrorist.
State Department spokesman Ned Price acknowledged that the United States was aware of the allegations and declared that America is looking into the matter, and takes “seriously all allegations of arbitrary arrest or detention.” However, they did not see it as necessary to delay approval of the arms sale.
It comes as the Biden administration is examining previously negotiated arms deals, with a jet sale to the United Arab Emirates currently under review.
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