Chuck Hagel urges Egypt’s army general on peaceful civilian transition

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The Pentagon disclosed information on Sunday that U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had spoken to head of Egypt’s armed forces in recent days, emphasizing the need for “a peaceful civilian transition in Egypt.”

The conversations between Hagel and General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi lasted more than two hours, a U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity said, showing the intensive contacts Washington is having with the military leader following last week’s overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi, Reuters reported.

“In their conversations, Secretary Hagel emphasized the need for a peaceful civilian transition in Egypt,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement.

“He also noted the importance of security for the Egyptian people, Egypt’s neighbors, and the region.”

The Pentagon did not give details of Sissi’s reaction.

The disclosure of these conversations came the same day President Barack Obama condemned the violence in Egypt and said that the United States was not aligned with any particular Egyptian political party or group.

Obama, who spoke with members of his National Security Council via conference call about the situation in Egypt, “condemned the ongoing violence across Egypt and expressed concern over the continued political polarization,” according to a White House statement.

He “reiterated that the United States is not aligned with, and does not support, any particular Egyptian political party or group,” according to the statement.

“The United States categorically rejects the false claims propagated by some in Egypt that we are working with specific political parties or movements to dictate how Egypt’s transition should proceed,” it said.

“We remain committed to the Egyptian people and their aspirations for democracy, economy opportunity, and dignity. But the future path of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people,” Obama added.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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