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U.S. Defense Chief Presses Egypt On Reforms

Egyptian Defense Minister General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi (right) meets with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in Cairo on April 24.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has urged Egypt's Islamist-led government to press ahead with reforms.

Hagel, who is in Cairo as part of a regional tour, met on April 24 with his Egyptian counterpart, General Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, and President Muhammad Morsi.

Egypt has long been considered a key U.S. ally in the Middle East and Washington provides Cairo with more than $1 billion per year in military aid.

U.S. officials have voiced concern that continued instability in Egypt in the wake of the 2011 revolution that ousted longtime President Hosni Mubarak could have broader consequences in the already restive region.

From Cairo, Hagel is to travel to the United Arab Emirates.

Earlier in his Middle East tour, he visited Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP