Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby provided the following readout:
Secretary Hagel called Egyptian Minister of Defense General Al-Sisi this morning to provide an update on his recent visit to the Middle East and to discuss the United States - Egypt relationship.
Secretary Hagel conveyed that the United States is committed to the U.S.-Egypt defense relationship and wants to continue working with Egypt to support a stable inclusive political transition.
He told Minister Al-Sisi that, on his visit to the Gulf region, he encouraged regional partners to continue playing a role in improving Egypt's economy and to play a constructive role in supporting Egypt's transition.
Secretary Hagel noted that the United States looks forward to Egypt's constitutional referendum in mid-January. They discussed the importance of a transparent process, in which the freedom of expression is protected for all citizens during the campaign period, regardless of whether they support or oppose the constitution.
Secretary Hagel also expressed concern over the recent charges involving former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the recent violence against a Non-Governmental Organization. The Secretary noted that civil society organizations play a vital role in any democracy and that incidences such as these can undermine confidence in the interim government's commitment to a non-violent, inclusive and sustainable democratic transition.
Secretary Hagel and Minister Al-Sisi agreed to continue to talk frequently to continue to engage on these important issues in the U.S.-Egypt relationship.