The White House on Monday urged Egypt's newly elected civilian government and powerful military to work together, a day after President Mohamed Morsi ordered the country's longtime defense minister to resign.
"It is important for the Egyptian military and civilian [government] to work closely together to address the economic and security challenges facing Egypt," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters on board Air Force One. "We hope that President Morsi's announcement will serve the interests of the Egyptian people."
The move to replace Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who ran the interim government after Hosni Mubarak was toppled, with Abdel Fattah al-Sissi could foreshadow a power struggle within Egypt. Morsi also scrapped a constitutional document giving the military wide powers.
Carney, who commended Tantawi for his service, said the U.S. also knows Sissi from his previous position and welcomed his appointment. Sissi was head of military intelligence. "We had expected President Morsi to coordinate with the military to name a new defense team and we will continue to work with Egypt's civilian and military leaders to advance our many shared interests," Carney said.