U.S. Secretary of Defense meets Egyptian defense chief in Washington

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper met earlier this week with Egyptian defense chief Gen. Mohamad Zaki at the Pentagon, according to a statement Tuesday from the American defense agency.

Esper and Zaki discussed defense issues, including counterterrorism, border and maritime security, security assistance and security cooperation, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement about the Monday meeting.

“Their discussion included ways to expand upon the deepened military cooperation over the last several years as well as addressing security concerns in the region, including threats emanating from Iran, Libya, and terrorists in the Sinai,” according to the statement.

Esper reiterated the U.S. commitment to its strategic partnership and military cooperation with Egypt, added Hoffman.

The meeting was Esper’s first bilateral meeting with a foreign counterpart since his confirmation last week by the Senate. He took over as acting defense secretary prior to being officially nominated by President Donald Trump.

Egypt is the second largest recipient of foreign assistance from the U.S. after Israel.