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Extremists threaten regional security and these weapon systems provide a new tool to help Egypt fight terrorism.” The statement called the delivery “the latest concrete step taken by the U.S. government in support of a friendship and strategic partnership with Egypt that has continued for over 30 years.”

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel Atty rejected criticism of Egypt’s rights record from seven U.S. senators who sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday urging a focus on “political reform, human rights, and fundamental freedoms” in the U.S.-Egypt strategic dialogue scheduled to begin Sunday in Cairo.

Atty expressed that critiques of the Egyptian government “will not be taken into consideration as long as they are not official statements,” adding, “All we care about is that Obama and Kerry have stated the importance of strengthening ties between Egypt and the U.S.” In their letter, the bi-partisan group of senators expressed concern “that recent U.S. policy and assistance decisions have been interpreted by the Egyptian government as an endorsement of the current political climate.”

Atty mentioned the recent congressional decision to maintain levels of military aid to Egypt for 2016 at $1.3 billion as a positive sign.

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