First Published: 2013-07-03

 

US’ Hagel called Egypt’s Sisi: Cautious Pentagon keeps details secret

 

Pentagon spokesman offers no details about Hagel's conversation with army chief and defense minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

 

Middle East Online

Did US give a wink or a nod?

WASHINGTON - US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke by telephone to his Egyptian counterpart after the army issued an ultimatum to Egypt's embattled president to meet the demands of his people, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Pentagon spokesman George Little offered no details about Hagel's conversation on Tuesday with army chief and defense minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

But Little told reporters the United States has conveyed to Egyptian leaders that Washington supports "the democratic process" and does not back any particular side in the unfolding political crisis.

"US officials at all levels have made it clear that we support the democratic process in Egypt and that we hope that this period of tension can be resolved in a peaceful manner and that violence can be avoided," Little said.

"We don't support any single party or group. We believe that this needs to be resolved through political means."

With crowds pouring onto the street to demand Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's resignation, Hagel's conversation followed a previously undisclosed phone call with Sisi late last week, Little said.

Asked why the Pentagon had not publicly announced last week's phone call until Wednesday, Little cited the "sensitivities of this situation."

The Egyptian military issued a 48-hour deadline on Monday for Morsi to meet the "people's demands", a day after millions of protesters took to the streets across the country calling for him to resign.

The US top brass has long-standing ties to Egypt's armed forces after decades of American military assistance and officials say the relationship helped pave the way for the peaceful end of ex-president Hosni Mubarak's rule in 2011.

"Historically, the department has a very close relationship with the Egyptian military," Little said.

"We've had good contacts for many years with senior Egyptian military officials. We hope that after this crisis is over and hopefully after it's resolved we can maintain that relationship," he said.

After days of street clashes that have claimed nearly 50 people, the Pentagon had not been ordered to provide any emergency military support to US diplomats posted in Cairo, he said.

President Barack Obama has proposed providing $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt in fiscal year 2014.

 

Push on IS capital Raqqa gathers momentum

Israel to deny Human Rights Watch visas for being ‘biased’

Iraq forces look to build floating bridge in Mosul

Boosting presidental powers will 'stabilise' Turkey, says PM

Bethlehem fetes Arab Idol singing hero

Shia leadership struggle ahead after Khamenei and Sistani

Morocco to withdraw from Western Sahara tension zone

The huge risks of Trump’s call to ‘take’ Iraqi oil

Trump set to zero in on Hezbollah in bid to curb Iran

Time bomb of unemployment among Arab youth

Woman journalist says targeted by hardliners in Sudan

Iran's Ahmadinejad writes open letter to Trump

Iran's Rouhani to run for re-election

Kurdish reporter killed while covering Mosul battle

Libya govt secures ceasefire after Tripoli clashes

Saudi Foreign Minister in landmark visit to Iraq

Iraqi forces push deeper into west Mosul

Suicide attacks kill 42 in Syria's Homs

Top US commander in secret Syria trip

UN considers Syria sanctions over chemical attacks

Saudi Comic-Con slammed as ‘sin’ in online backlash

Jordanians protest government price hikes

Baghdad coordinated anti-IS airstrikes with Damascus says source

New Hamas Gaza leader makes first public appearance

Palestinian protestors clash with Israeli soldiers in West Bank

Jordanian F-16 crashes in Saudi, pilot survives

Suicide bomb attack on rebels kills 51 near Al-Bab

Iraqi PM says air force strikes IS targets in Syria

Iraqi forces enter IS-held west Mosul

UN slams light sentence for Israeli soldier

Saudi king seeks investment on rare Asia tour

UN Syria peace talks begin in Geneva

Saudi minister discusses hajj with Iran

136 Turkish diplomats, soldiers seek German asylum since coup

New Hamas ‘strongman’ could spell fresh Israeli conflict

Suicide car bomb kills eight outside Yemen army base

Fired Turkish academics protest ‘unjust’ dismissals

Iraqi forces jovial after Mosul airport entry

Syrian rebels announce capture of flashpoint town from IS

Iraqi forces enter IS-held Mosul airport

Swedish citizen jailed for IS Facebook post

Somalia names new prime minister

Netanyahu backs pardon for Israel soldier who shot Palestinian

UN envoy meets Syrian rivals, hopes of breakthrough slim

Yemeni government forces pin back rebels on coast