US urges Egypt`s Tantawi for political transition

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta called Egyptian military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi to discuss current events in Egypt.

Last Updated: Jun 16, 2012, 12:18 PM IST

Washington: US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has called Egyptian military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and asked him to move forward with a political transition in the country, the Pentagon said.

"Secretary Panetta underscored to Field Marshal Tantawi the need to ensure a full and peaceful transition to democracy and said he looks forward to working with Egypt`s newly-elected government to advance our mutual interests," Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement.

Little said Panetta called Tantawi to discuss current events in Egypt, including the recent Supreme Constitutional Court ruling on the Egyptian Parliament.

During the teleconference call yesterday, Panetta highlighted the need to move forward expeditiously with Egypt`s political transition, including conducting new legislative elections as soon as possible.

"Field Marshal Tantawi reiterated the SCAF`s commitment to hold free and fair presidential elections as scheduled and to transfer power to a democratically-elected government by July 01. The two leaders agreed on the importance of the US-Egyptian strategic relationship," Little said.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the US is continuing to monitor the situation in Egypt.

"We`re looking closely at the decisions that were made yesterday and their full implications. Our sense of this is it`s not exactly clear to Egyptians themselves what the path forward is. But if in fact the conclusion is that there need to be new parliamentary elections, our hope is that they could happen swiftly and that they reflect the will of the Egyptian people," she said.

"More importantly or equally importantly, this weekend we have the second round of the Egyptian Presidential Elections. We are hoping and expecting that these will be free, fair, transparent, that the monitors and witnesses who the Egyptian Government have invited in will be able to be present throughout the country and will be able to give reassurance to the Egyptian people about the outcome," Nuland said.

The United States, she said, however, is troubled by this court ruling yesterday that will effectively dissolve a democratically-elected Parliament.

"So now the question is: The court has called for new elections. If, in fact, that`s the direction that Egypt goes, they need to be swift, they need to be fully democratic, free, transparent, so that we can move on to giving the Egyptian people what they want, which is an elected president and an elected Parliament and a system that is permanent and sustainable," she said.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a statement underscored the United Nations strong support for Egypt`s transition to fully meet the legitimate expectations of the Egyptian people.