Hagel in first phone conversation with Bismillah
WASHINGTON (PAN): New US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday called his Afghan counterpart, Gen. Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, and discussed bilateral issues and the progress being made in the security transition process.
This was the first phone conversation between the two leaders after Hagel was sworn in as defense secretary late last month, replacing Leon Panetta.
“Hagel has spoken by phone this week with counterparts and foreign leaders from around the world, all of whom congratulated him on taking office as secretary of defense,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little, said.
In each of the calls, Hagel expressed his personal commitment to ensuring strong military-to-military relationships even as the United States faced budget constraints and fiscal uncertainty in Washington, DC.
Little said the secretary believes that the US must do all it could to develop and strengthen coalitions of common interest to confront violent extremism, prevent proliferation of weapons, deter aggression and promote regional stability.
“Secretary Hagel looks forward to working closely with his counterparts on these mutual security challenges,” he said. In addition to Bismillah Khan, he also spoke to his counterparts in Australia, Canada, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.
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