The U.S. State Department on Tuesday approved a pair of approved arms sales totaling $2.5 billion to Egypt. File Photo by sower online/Shutterstock
Jan. 25 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department on Tuesday approved $2.5 billion in proposed arms sales to Egypt.
The deals include a $2.2 billion sale of 12 C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft and related equipment as well as a separate $355 million sale including 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," the State Department said in a release.
It added the sale will "improve Egypt's capability to meet current and future threats by providing airlift support for its forces" which will assist with "border security, the interdiction of known terrorist elements, rapid reaction to internal security threats and humanitarian aid."
The United States has provided Egypt $1.3 billion in military aid annually, including $300 million attached to certain conditions.
Last year the State Department decided said it would withhold $130 million of that funding under further conditions and on Tuesday, Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee urged the State Department to uphold the decision, highlighting concerns about political prisoners and human rights abuses.
During a press briefing Tuesday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said the agency would not comment on whether the $120 million was part of the $2.5 billion involved in the sales Tuesday.
He added that work on human rights in Egypt is "a dialogue that is ongoing" and that the United States has "seen progress on individual cases."
"Our relationship with Egypt is fundamentally important across any number of realms when it comes to regional security, when it comes to counterterrorism, and so, of course, we would like to see that relationship strengthened even more," Price said. "And one way to do that is additional progress on human rights."