WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama has called his Libyan and Egyptian counterparts respectively to discuss security cooperation following the eruption of violent anti-American protests in the two countries in the past days, the White House said in a statement released early Thursday.
During his first phone talk with Libyan President Mohammed Maqrif Wednesday evening since the latter's election last month, Obama thanked Maqrif for extending his condolences for the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other U.S. diplomats who were killed in attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Tuesday.
"He also expressed appreciation for the cooperation we have received from the Libyan government and people in responding to this outrageous attack, and said that the Libyan government must continue to work with us to assure the security of our personnel going forward," the statement said.
Obama "made it clear that we must work together to do whatever is necessary to identify the perpetrators of this attack and bring them to justice," the statement said, adding that the two leaders agreed to "work closely over the course of this investigation."
In another statement, the White House said Obama also called his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Morsi "to review the strategic partnership" between the two countries and the ongoing efforts to strengthen bilateral economic and security cooperation.
Hours before Libyan protesters attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, hundreds of Egyptian protesters launched a mob attack on the U.S. embassy in Cairo, scaling the walls of the compound and tearing down the U.S. flag in reaction to a U.S.-made anti-Islam film that was posted online.
"Given recent events, and consistent with our interest in a relationship based on mutual interests and mutual respect, President Obama underscored the importance of Egypt following through on its commitment to cooperate with the United States in securing U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel," the White House said.
Obama said he rejected efforts to denigrate Islam, but underscored that "there is never any justification for violence against innocents and acts that endanger American personnel and facilities."
Morsi expressed his condolences for the tragic loss of American lives in Libya and emphasized that Egypt would honor its obligation to ensure the safety of American personnel, the statement said.
The U.S. has tightened its security around its diplomatic missions in the Middle East and around the world after the violence in the Middle East. Two U.S. navy destroyers and marine troops have also been sent to Libya in a bid to protect the safety of American personnel and hunt for the perpetrators of the violence against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.