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US defence minister talks with El-Sisi

Chuck Hagel tackles political and security matters in Wednesday phone call with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi

Ahram Online , Thursday 31 Oct 2013
El-Sisi, Hagel
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (Left) and Egypt's Minister of Defense Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi (Photo: Ahram)
Views: 1962
Views: 1962

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has discussed political and security concerns in Egypt via phone with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

"Secretary Hagel and Egyptian Minister of Defense Gen. Al-Sisi spoke again by phone this morning. They discussed the interim government's progress along the political roadmap, lifting of the curfew and state of emergency, and the security situation in the Sinai and the Suez Canal," Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a press statement on Wednesday

Egypt's army toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July after massive protests against his year-long rule. A transitional roadmap to democracy, set forth by the interim authorities, promises parliamentary election and a presidential vote early next year.

The country has been gripped by turmoil since Morsi's exit, with Islamist militants stepping up attacks in the Sinai Peninsula near the border with Israel.

A state of emergency which entailed a nighttime curfew in Cairo and 13 other governorate was imposed after the dispersal of two pro-Morsi sit-ins on 14 August which left hundreds dead.

The officials also addressed strategic and military ties between the countries a month after Washington announced cutbacks in assistance to Egypt.

"They both reflected on the continued importance of the US-Egypt military relationship and agreed to remain in close contact with one another," read the statement.

The United States earlier this month said it was recalibrating its $1.5 billion a year in annual aid to Cairo, including 1.3 billion in military aid, after the ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi and the bloody crackdown on his supporters, straining relations.

The Obama administration said on 9 October that it would freeze deliveries of big-ticket items including tanks, Apache helicopters, F-16 fighter jets and other military equipment, as well as $260 million in cash aid, until Egypt made progress on democracy and human rights.



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