Washington — Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta commends Egyptian Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the country's top military officer, and his staff for supporting a secure, free and fair election in Egypt, Pentagon press secretary George Little said June 25.
Egypt's election commission announced June 24 that Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi won the presidential runoff over Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister under deposed leader Hosni Mubarak.
Little said the secretary placed two phone calls to Tantawi, head of Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, late last week to express his desire for the Egyptian military to support a free and fair election, "and that's precisely what occurred."
U.S. Army General Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke this morning with his Egyptian counterpart, Lieutenant General Sami Hafez Enan, Little added.
"The tenor of all these discussions has been to express a desire to encourage the Egyptian military to support the democratic process," the press secretary said, "and we've seen what's occurred in Egypt."
Egypt has an enduring role as a security partner and leader in promoting regional stability, "and we look forward to working with the new government on a host of issues," Little told reporters last week.