U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has arrived in the Egyptian capital Cairo for talks with new President Muhammad Morsi and defense chief Hussein Tantawi.
Statements from the White House said Panetta's visit was meant to "affirm the support of the United States to continued reforms" in Egypt following a tumultuous year in 2011 which saw dictator Hosni Mubarak ousted after 30 years in power and frequent pro-reform protests.
Panetta's visit comes some two weeks after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Cairo to express support for Egypt's democratic transition and economic development.
Egypt for years has been the recipient of billions of dollars of U.S. aid following its landmark 1979 peace treaty with U.S. ally Israel.
Based on reporting by AP and dpa