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U.S. notes strong ties to Egypt

  |   Sept. 6, 2013 at 10:43 AM
WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. military said it recognized Egypt's ability to address security in the Sinai Peninsula and broader terrorism issues, the Defense Department said.

The Egyptian military this week carried out missile strikes against suspected militant targets in Sinai. The region was the source of security concerns in the wake of the country's 2011 revolution and violence has surged since the July 3 military ouster of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke with his Egyptian counterpart, Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, on the bilateral security relationship.

"Secretary Hagel acknowledged Egyptian accomplishments in providing security in the Sinai and declared that the United States stands with Egypt and all nations against terrorism worldwide," Defense Department spokesman George Little said in a statement Thursday.

Morsi's political backers, the Muslim Brotherhood, said the July 3 ouster was a military coup. Egyptian allies have been reluctant to categorize it as such because it would trigger legal restrictions on foreign aid.

Washington said its military ties to Egypt were tied to broader national security interests in the region. The European Union restricted some military export licenses to Egypt because of a bloody crackdown on pro-Morsi demonstrators last month.

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