Pentagon stands by Egypt

Feb. 6, 2013 at 12:18 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Defense Department expressed its support to the Egyptian military for ensuring national security objectives, a spokesman said.

Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi expressed concern that the state system could collapse given growing political tensions in the country.

Demonstrations turned violent recently as Egyptians marked the second anniversary of a revolution that ushered in democratic reforms. Cairo was commended for helping secure a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, though internal security issues remain a concern in the post-revolutionary environment.

George Little, a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department, said Washington was standing by its defense relationship with the Egyptian military.

"Minister al-Sisi reiterated his support for the defense relationship, and thanked (Defense) Secretary (Leon) Panetta for his leadership and support," said Little. "The secretary commended Minister al-Sisi for his efforts to address shared security objectives including Sinai and border security."

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi spoke with member of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces this week to discuss internal security matters, reported Egyptian news agency al-Ahram.

Four of 20 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets arrived in Egypt last weekend under a $1.3 billion-a-year U.S. military aid program signed by former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

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