US threatens to punish Egypt over Russian arms deal
Washington, Nov 15 (IANS) The US has threatened to punish Egypt for its decision to purchase fighter jets from Russia, flexing its muscles against a second regional power that was veering toward Moscow.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper sent a letter on Wednesday to Cairo, urging the country to scrap a deal to purchase Su-35 jets from Russia, Xinhua news agency quoted the Wall Street Journal as saying on Thursday.
"Major new arms deals with Russia would-at a minimum-complicate future US defence transactions with and security assistance to Egypt," the letter said.
Egypt reportedly signed a $2 billion agreement earlier this year with Russia to buy more than 20 Su-35 jets.
The menacing tone came after similar tactics failed to bring Turkey, another regional power and a NATO member, to drop its bid to acquire Russian S-400 missile systems.
Threats to kick Turkey out of the F-35 programme was met with indifference from Ankara and a bilateral meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday at the White House did not yield a consensus on the issue.