President Obama called Egyptian Field Marshal Tantawi today to reaffirm the close partnership between the United States and Egypt and to underscore the United States’ support for Egypt’s transition to democracy. He welcomed the historic seating of the lower house of Egypt’s Parliament and offered his congratulations to the Egyptian people on taking this important step towards democracy. The President reinforced the necessity of upholding universal principles and emphasized the important role that civil society, including non-governmental organizations, have in a democratic society. He underscored that non-governmental organizations should be able to operate freely. The two leaders discussed Egypt’s economic situation and the ongoing discussions between Egypt and the International Monetary Fund on an economic program that can garner the broad support of the Egyptian people. The President and the Field Marshall discussed the importance of continuing to cooperate closely on counter-terrorism and regional security issues. They agreed to remain in close touch in the months ahead as Egypt continues its transition to democracy.