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.

 

Heavy fighting shakes eastern Aleppo as army advances

Yemen prepares assault on Iran backed rebels near key strait

Palestinian Fatah conference ends with boost for Abbas

Nigeria and Morocco agree joint venture to link Africa to Europe

Blocked news website accuses Qatar government of censorship

China warns against obstruction of Iran nuclear deal

First buses take Aleppo residents back to ruined homes

Kurdish restrictions cause ‘unnecessary harm’ to Iraq Yazidis

Egypt court strikes down part of protest law

Syria army advances deeper into east Aleppo

US rules out military intervention in Libya

Saudi Arabia names new Labour Minister, reshuffles councils

Eight arrested in Morocco over alleged ties with IS

Syria regime seizes half of rebel parts of Aleppo

Europol warns of changing IS tactics

Palestinian contenders for Fatah posts set to declare

Protests erupt in Istanbul over ‘Aleppo massacre’

Aleppo family reunited after war kept them apart for months

Syria rebels put up fight for key Aleppo district

Obama unlikely to act on Israel-Palestine before leaving office

UN says torture 'widespread' after Turkey coup

International push aims to protect endangered heritage

Journalist's body found shot in Iraq’s Kurdish region

Iran urges Kenya to release two of its citizens

Morocco business diplomacy at heart of strategy to rejoin African Union

Turkish prosecutor calls for drop of Gaza ship charges against Israelis

Iran preparing ‘appropriate’ response to US sanctions renewal

Saudi government detects fresh hacking attempts

Qarawiyyin library holds written wonders

Putin getting admirers from US to Europe to Syria

Congress approves Iran sanctions extension

Staggering casualty toll in Mosul offensive

Pentagon says IS jihadists making 'last stand' in Sirte

Iraq faces post-IS problem in Shiite militias

Turkey detains business executive for alleged Gulen links

Putin says Russia not looking for enemies

Tunisia sentences protesters to 14 years in jail

Saudi increases jail term for rights activist to 11 years

Misery deepens for Mosul refugees with heavy rain

Turkish parliament to vote on bill expanding Erdogan’s power

UN envoy to Yemen, President meet in new peace bid

Syrian Grand Mufti rejects terrorism claims

Qatar blocks popular news website

Desperate civilians brave Aleppo front line

OPEC spares Iran oil production cuts