Panetta Urges Egypt’s Military Chief to Continue Political Transition
By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 15, 2012 Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta called the leader of Egypt’s ruling military council today and encouraged him to move forward with a political transition in that country, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
In a written statement issued today, Little said Panetta called Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi to discuss current events in Egypt “including the recent Supreme Constitutional Court ruling on the Egyptian parliament.” Little said Panetta “highlighted the need to move forward expeditiously with Egypt’s political transition, including conducting new legislative elections as soon as possible.”
Yesterday, Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court ordered the elected parliament dissolved, two days before a presidential run-off election was set to be held, and more than a year after a popular uprising forced longtime President Hosni Mubarak from power.
During today’s call, Little said Field Marshal Tantawi reiterated the Egyptian military’s commitment to hold free and fair presidential elections as scheduled, and to transfer power to a democratically elected government by July 1.
Little said Panetta “underscored … the need to ensure a full and peaceful transition to democracy” in Egypt, and he looks forward to working with Egypt’s new government on issues of mutual interest.