UPDATE: US to deliver eight F-16 aircraft to Egypt

The United States will deliver eight F-16 Block 52 aircraft to Egypt within the next two days, the US embassy in Cairo said in a statement on Thursday, part of a military package that had been unfrozen earlier this year.

The statement said Washington would deliver four more F-16s to Egypt this autumn.

Despite US 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 Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown by the military in 2013 after mass protests against his rule, but ties with former general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was later elected to succeed him, have steadily improved.

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

At the time he directed the release of 12 Lockheed Martin F-16 aircraft, 20 Boeing Harpoon missiles, and up to 125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits made by General Dynamics.

Last month, Washington delivered two navy vessels to Egypt, doubling Cairo's total fleet of Fast Missile Craft to four.

US Secretary of State John Kerry will be in Egypt on Sunday to hold a "strategic dialogue", which last took place between the two countries in December 2009. 

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