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Egypt ignores US requests to close airspace to Russia, despite receiving $1.3 billion in aid

Washington is trying to pressure Egypt to close its airspace to all Russian military flights, but the US regional ally is not in for it, even following a recent Pentagon leak showing Cairo planned to supply Moscow with missiles.

“Egypt ignored U.S. requests to close its airspace to Russian military flights, U.S. and Egyptian officials said, testing the limits of Washington's ability to cut off Moscow's supplies ahead of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive. ”, reports the Wall Street Journal on Friday.

“ The US and Ukraine convinced countries like Turkey, Jordan and Iraq to cut off access to at least some Russian military aircraft last year after they invaded Ukraine, forcing Moscow's planes to flying an extra 2,000 miles and up to five extra hours to reach strategic bases in Syria ,” the report continues.

Washington's concern is that Russia has likely used Egyptian airspace to transport weapons from its weapons depots to other parts of the Middle East, such as Syria, where it has launched a significant military buildup since 2015, particularly along the coast. . Not to mention Wagner's operations in Africa and Libya.

Flight logs cited in the WSJ report show that at least seven of these military flights used this route to Syria, before heading to Russia's Black Sea region.

In recent decades, Egypt has been the largest recipient of US foreign aid after Israel, with about $1.3 billion annually. The US Congress has tried to limit these aids because they do not correspond to American interests, but the White House maintains them with a view to maintaining peace with Israel.

For example, a State Department fact sheet reads: " Since 1978, the United States has provided Egypt with more than $50 billion in military assistance and $30 billion in economic assistance ."

The Washington Post last month reported on a leaked slide that was part of the "Discord leaks" of Pentagon documents. The slide alleged that Sisi had recently ordered the production of 40,000 rockets to be secretly shipped to Russia.

The top-secret document, dated February 17 this year, included a summary of conversations between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and his senior military officials. In the document, Sisi orders officials to keep the production and shipment of the rockets secret "to avoid problems with the West", writes the Washington Post. Artillery shells and gunpowder are also mentioned.

Countries like Egypt (considered close American allies) caught shipping weapons to Russia would not only be very embarrassing for the Biden administration, but could trigger US sanctions or at least a freeze on aid to defend the country.

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The article Egypt ignores US requests to close airspace to Russia, despite receiving 1.3 billion in aid comes from Scenari Economics .

This is a machine translation of a post published on Scenari Economici at the URL https://scenarieconomici.it/egitto-resiste-alle-pressioni-usa-sulla-russia/ on Sun, 14 May 2023 06:00:09 +0000.