[QODLink]
Middle East
Egypt general cuts short US trip
Senior official apparently cutting short defence talks as unrest sweeps his country.
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2011 23:34 GMT
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Egypt calling on President Mubarak to step down [Reuters]

The Pentagon has said that Lieutenant General Sami Enan, the Egyptian army's chief of staff, has departed Washington, cutting short a planned week-long visit as unrest sweeps his country.

The previously scheduled annual defence talks had been adjourned after "the Egyptian delegation was called home by its government," Colonel Dave Lapan, the Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement on Friday.

Sandy Vershbow, the assistant secretary of defence, led the US side for the talks and reiterated the Washington's appeal for restraint in dealing with widespread unrest, Lapan said.

"The current situation in Egypt arose very quickly, but Ambassador Vershbow did have the opportunity to urge restraint to his Egyptian counterpart during the Wednesday and Thursday meetings here in the Pentagon," he said.

Egypt receives about $1.3bn a year in US military aid and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic assistance - second only to Israel.

The country's armed forces - the world's 10th biggest with more than 468,000 members - have been at the heart of power since army officers staged an overthrow of the monarchy in 1952.

All four Egyptian presidents since then have come from the military, which is now led by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, 75, who is both defence minister and commander-in-chief.

Enan, in Washington, ranks below him but is one of the top military officers in Egypt.

A Middle East military expert in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, described Enan as someone who appeared to have the respect of the US.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.