News / Middle East

Pentagon Chief Voices ‘Concern’ in Call to Egypt Army Head

FILE - U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck HagelFILE - U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
FILE - U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
FILE - U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
The top U.S. defense official expressed “concern” about recent developments in Egypt in a call on Sunday to Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, the Pentagon said.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expressed his condolences for the victims of a spate of recent bomb attacks in Egypt, and offered U.S. assistance to investigate the incidents, a Pentagon spokesman said in a statement.
A bomb exploded outside an Egyptian army building north of Cairo on Sunday, the latest in a series of violent incidents in Egypt.
The Egyptian Army labeled the incident a terrorist attack, but did not name the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group it declared a terrorist organization last week.
In his call with Sissi, Hagel also “stressed the role of political inclusiveness,” and the two men discussed “the balance between security and freedom,” spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in the statement.
“Secretary Hagel also expressed concerns about the political climate in advance of the constitutional referendum, including the continued enforcement of a restrictive demonstrations law,” Kirby said.
Egypt's army-backed government has used the new classification to detain hundreds of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, and thousands more are already in jail.
The terrorist classification was the government's latest move to crack down on the Islamist group following the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July.
As friction grows between supporters and opponents of the Brotherhood, officials have also warned Egyptians against participating in protests in support of the group. Street clashes have killed seven people in the last three days.
The Brotherhood, which has estimated its membership at up to a million people, was Egypt's best organized political force until this summer's crackdown. A political and social movement founded in 1928, it won five elections after the downfall of president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Under the government's political transition plan, a referendum is planned for mid-January on a new constitution, followed by parliamentary polls and a presidential election.

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Comment Sorting
by: John from: usa
December 30, 2013 6:18 PM
i am stunned... the US is actively protecting the vicious terrorist organization of the Muslim Brotherhood... what are we doing??? I begin to think i live in the twilight zone...

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
December 30, 2013 7:48 AM
That call may be a way to be meddlesome. Egypt should be allowed to handle its internal affairs its own way. Nobody... I mean no American will understand better how to handle the stubborn Egyptian terrorists in the Brotherhood uniform more than an Egyptian who has been on the scene right from the beginning. Let the interim government do its work, so far as it does not become one-sided in its administration of justice in the country.

As VOA continues to reference the ousting of Hosni Mubarak as a downfall is like continuing to scratch an old wound to remind it of a US failure to identify with an ally in trying times. We shouldn't be always reminded how USA abandoned Mubarak when he need help most only to be referring to his downfall in every writeup relating to Egypt. The good thing VOA should do is try play down this unsavory episode and move forward. But that is not to say the Egyptians are fools and won't remember that another total trust will be betrayed if given another chance, especially if Mr. Obama is still in charge at the White House in USA.

by: ali baba from: new york
December 29, 2013 9:05 PM
little knowledge is very dangerous .Mr. Hagel is not aware about Muslim brotherhood behavior. Muslim brotherhood is a terrorism organization and it has to deal with it with fist of iron , The fact they ruled Egypt for a year .Egyptian experience a nightmare. the people revolt. The army respond to people wish and remove morsi. Muslim brotherhood should accept the people decision and they could be peaceful opposing party but they choose violence .there are several bomb attack. the Egyptian Gov. . has to react aggressively otherwise the situation will get out of control.

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