Hagel speaks with UAE on defense

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke with United Arab Emirates' Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Monday to discuss regional issues.

Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said that Hagel emphasized the U.S. commitment to regional security and pointed out that a strong U.S.-UAE bilateral relationship is needed for regional stability. Hagel reaffirmed the commitment of the U.S. to a strategic partnership with Egypt and discussed the U.S. decision related to providing security assistance to Egypt.

Hagel said the U.S. means to test the prospects for diplomacy with Iran. Hagel assured Mohamed bin Zayed that the U.S. will remain firm in its commitment to the security of the region and to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon while attempting to peacefully resolve the international community's concerns over the nuclear program in Iran.

Hagel also noted the success of the recent U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council Strategic Cooperation Forum and urged the need for collaboration between the U.S. and GCC on shared issues, such as regional defense initiatives.

In April, Hagel and Mohamed bin Zayed met in April to discuss the UAE's purchase of 25 F-16 Block 50 aircraft and the U.S. decision to release standoff weapons for sale for the UAE's defense.