Middle East

Reports: Egypt to say foreign efforts failed

Interim government to declare envoys from other countries did not achieve goals in mediation, state media says.

Last Modified: 07 Aug 2013 08:17
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The army-installed government in Egypt is reportedly ready to declare that foreign mediation efforts have failed.

The state-run Al-Ahram newspaper, citing official sources, said on Tueday that the government would make an announcement along those lines soon.

The announcement is also expected to declare that Muslim Brotherhood protests against the army's overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi were not-peaceful.

The report came amid fresh efforts by Qatar's Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiya, and two US senators, to save the country from further turmoil.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Attiya called on Egyptian authorities to release political prisoners who he said were key to solving the current crisis.

"My wish for the brothers in Egypt is to release the political prisoners as soon as possible because they are the key to unlocking this crisis," Attiya said.

"Without a serious dialogue with all the parties, and most importantly with the political prisoners because they are the main element in this crisis, I believe things will be difficult."

Earlier, US senators John McCain and Linsdsey Graham said they considered Morsi's removal to have been a military coup - causing an uproar in the Egyptian media and drawing a strong riposte from the acting president.

Speaking about his visit to Cairo, McCain said Egypt could turn into "all-out bloodshed" in the coming days if efforts to find a political solution fail.

McCain and Graham met with Egypt's new rulers on Tuesday.

"These folks are just days or weeks away from all-out bloodshed," McCain said during an interview with US news network CBS.

Morsi's deposal on July 3 has led to violent confrontations between military forces and supporters of the overthrown leader.

During the CBS News interview, McCain, who unsuccessfully ran for US president in 2008, said: "There is only one way to bring about a peaceful Egypt and that is the process of negotiation and reconciliation between the major players".

Asked by CBS News if they thought Egypt "might fail," McCain responded, "I think it might. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think that it might and I think the events in next few weeks will determine that".

Graham added: "I'll go one step further. I think it's going to fail if something doesn't change. And to the American people, failure in Egypt matters to us."

Neither senator defined what it would mean to have Egypt "fail".

'Political polarisation'

Travelling in Egypt during a US Congress recess, McCain and Graham met with Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah El Sisi, interim Vice-President Mohamed ElBaradei and interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi.

Egypt's military is understood to be readying for an operation to clear protest sites [AFP]

Asked whether Sisi embraced the US message of reconciliation, McCain told CBS News: "I got the impression about General Sisi that he is a very strong man and that he is trying to do what he thinks is best for the Egyptian people".

The state news agency MENA said little about the senators' meeting with Sisi, only that the two sides exchanged views on political developments and discussed efforts to end "the state of political polarisation".

Thousands of Morsi's supporters remain camped out at two protest sites in Cairo, which the government has pledged to break up.

Almost 300 people have been killed in political violence since he was toppled, including 80 shot dead by security forces in a single incident on July 27.

In the latest report of violence, gunmen in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula killed a politician who was a member of parliament during the era of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, security sources said on Wednesday.

Attackers in a car fired four bullets at Abdel Hamid Silmi as he left a mosque, the sources said, adding that he was a member of Mubarak's National Democratic Party.


Al Jazeera and agencies
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