US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Friday urged Egyptian Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi to move swiftly forward with Egypt's political transition, and called for new legislative elections to be held as soon as possible.

In a telephone conversation, the two discussed current events in Egypt.

"Tantawi reiterated the SCAF's (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces') commitment to hold free and fair presidential elections... and to transfer power to a democratically elected government by July 1," the Pentagon stated.

Click for special JPost features

Panetta emphasized the need to "ensure a full and peaceful transition to democracy," and said he was looking forward to working with the new government to advance mutual interests.

Panetta's phone call came on the eve of Egypt's presidential run-off election between Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsy and ousted president Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq. 

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger