Egypt receives two Fast Missile navy vessels from US

 The United States has delivered two navy vessels to Egypt, doubling Cairo's total fleet of Fast Missile Craft to four, the U.S. embassy in Cairo said on Monday.

The statement said the vessels had arrived in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria on June 17 aboard a U.S. transport ship.

"The Fast Missile Craft directly supports maritime and regional security, which includes protecting vital waterways such as the Suez Canal and the Red Sea," said U.S. Embassy Senior Defense Official in Cairo Major General Charles Hooper.

Despite U.S. lawmakers' concerns that Egypt is lagging on democratic reforms, Egypt remains one of Washington's closest security allies in the region.

Relations had cooled after former President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown by the military in 2013 after mass protests against his rule, but ties with Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, his successor, have steadily improved.

In late March, U.S. President Barack Obama lifted a hold on a supply of arms to Cairo, authorising deliveries of U.S. weapons valued at over $1.3 billion.

Egypt's new $8 billion Suez Canal, that will flank the existing 145-year old waterway, will open on Aug. 6.

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