US defence secretary praises end of Egypt's state of emergency, curfew

Ahram Online , Sunday 17 Nov 2013

Secretary Hagel discusses bilateral relations between US, Egypt over the phone with army chief El-Sisi on Saturday

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and The Egyptian army chief Abdel Fatah El-Sisi (R) April 2013(Photo: Reuters)

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel praised the end of Egypt's state of emergency and curfew in a telephone call with Egyptian army chief Abdel Fatah El-Sisi on Saturday.

"Secretary Hagel welcomed the end of the emergency law and curfew in Egypt and reiterated that the United States values the rights of all people to express their views peacefully," read a Saturday statement by the US Department of Defence.

The press release added that Hagel and El-Sisi discussed "the importance of continuing progress on the roadmap towards inclusive democracy."

"General El-Sisi and Secretary Hagel each emphasised the importance that the Egyptian and US governments both place on the bilateral relationship and commitment to shared security interests," read the statement.

The call between El-Sisi and Hagel comes after the visit of a top-level diplomatic Russian delegation to Egypt last week.

The visit concluded with a landmark weapons deal offer, marking the revival of large scale cooperation between Egypt and Russia.

The Russian weapons offer coincides with Washington's recent decision to freeze deliveries of big-ticket items such as tanks, Apache helicopters, F-16 fighter jets and other military equipment, as well as $260 million in cash aid, until Egypt makes progress on democracy and human rights.

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