Hagel issues statement on U.S.-Egypt defense relationship

U.S. Secretary Defense Chuck Hagel issued a statement on Thursday after a discussion with Egyptian Minister of Defense Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi about the defense relationship between the U.S. and Egypt.

Hagel said the U.S. made it clear since the recent crisis began that the Egyptian government must not use violence, should respect freedom of assembly and then make progress toward an inclusive political transition. He said recent developments undermined such principles.

"Recent developments, including the violence that has resulted in hundreds of deaths across the country, have undermined those principles," Hagel said. "As President Obama has announced, the United States military will not conduct the Bright Star training exercise scheduled for later this year."

Hagel said the U.S. is ready to work with Egypt to peacefully move forward, but he said the violence and lack of reconciliatory steps are putting the U.S.-Egypt defense relationship in jeopardy.

"In my discussion with Minister Al-Sisi, I reiterated that the United States remains ready to work with all parties to help achieve a peaceful, inclusive way forward," Hagel said. "The Department of Defense will continue to maintain a military relationship with Egypt, but I made it clear that the violence and inadequate steps towards reconciliation are putting important elements of our longstanding defense cooperation at risk."