Hagel speaks with Israeli Defence Minister on Iran, Syria and Egypt

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke with his Israeli counterpart Moshe Ya`alon, on key regional issues of Egypt, Iran and the ongoing violence in Syria, including claims of use of chemical weapons.

Last Updated: Aug 22, 2013, 09:08 AM IST

Washington: US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has spoken with his Israeli counterpart Moshe Ya`alon, on key regional issues of Egypt, Iran and the ongoing violence in Syria, including claims of use of chemical weapons.
"The call touched upon the ongoing violence in Syria -- including the recent claims of use of chemical weapons -- the situation in Egypt, and Iran," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.

"Hagel and Ya`alon agreed to continue to maintain intensive dialogue on the multitude of challenges facing the United States and Israel," Little said in a statement after telephonic conversation between the two leaders.

The White House yesterday requested that the UN urgently investigate the allegations of use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime of Syria.

"The UN investigative team, which is currently in Syria, is prepared to do so, and that is consistent with its purpose and mandate," White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

"There is an investigation team that`s on the ground in Syria right now, and we are hopeful that the Assad regime will follow through on what they have claimed previously: that they are interested in a credible investigation that gets to the bottom of reports that chemical weapons have been used," he told reporters at his daily news conference.

"It is time for the Assad regime to live up to their rhetoric in this regard and give the investigators access to the sites, the opportunity to interview witnesses, the opportunity to collect physical samples and other things that would help them reach a credible determination about what exactly occurred there," he said.

Earnest said the US is concerned about the increasing violence in Egypt.

"The violence in Egypt should come to an end. It needs to stop. And that is the way that we`re going to facilitate the kind of reconciliation that will allow the interim government to make good on their promise to transition back to a democratically elected civilian government," he said.

"We need to see an inclusive process get started there, and that`s something that we are encouraging the interim government to undertake," he said.

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