WASHINGTON, April 13 (Xinhua) -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his new Egyptian counterpart Sedki Sobhi had a phone conversation Sunday over regional security issues and the bilateral ties.
In the first such talks between them, "Hagel congratulated Gen. Sobhi on his promotion and expressed his desire to maintain close contact as the general settles into his duties," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
Topics of the 20-minute call ranged from the threat of terrorist networks to "the importance of free and fair elections for Egypt's political transition," Kirby said.
Both reaffirmed commitment to strong U.S.-Egyptian relations, he said.
Sobhi, Egypt's former army chief of staff, replaced Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi late March, after the latter announced his resignation from the military in order to run for president in the May elections.