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Gates Makes Unannounced Visit to Cairo

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates (file photo)

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is making his first visit to Cairo since ex-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was ousted by protests.

The previously unannounced two-day visit began Wednesday as Gates monitors U.S. and allied military operations enforcing a no-fly zone in neighboring Libya.

Gates is expected to meet Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the leader of Egypt's ruling military council. The two men have been in telephone contact during Egypt's political crisis.

The defense secretary will also meet Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.

Gates' visit comes after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton toured Cairo last week and met with several officials and other political figures. She said the United States wants to help meet the economic needs that Egypt now faces.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.