Egypt to Declare that Efforts to Resolve Crisis Have Failed
The Egyptian government is set to declare on Wednesday that foreign mediation efforts to end the political crisis in the country have failed, Reuters reported Tuesday night, citing the Al-Ahram newspaper.
Local officials told the state run newspaper that the government would make an announcement to that effect soon.
It would also declare that Muslim Brotherhood protests against the army’s overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi were non-peaceful - a signal that the government intends to end them by force.
The report appeared hours after two senior U.S. senators on a mediation mission 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.
The Republican senators - Lindsey Graham and John McCain - also called on the military to release political prisoners and start a national dialogue to return Egypt to democratic rule, Reuters reported.
Graham and McCain were sent by President Barack Obama to Egypt in hopes of spurring the reconciliation process there.
Their comments mark a significant change from previous U.S. policy, as the White House has thus far been cautious about calling the Egyptian military’s ouster of Morsi a “coup.”
Under U.S. law, a country in which a military coup has taken place cannot receive military aid from the U.S. Both McCain and Graham have called on the Obama administration to cut off the aid the U.S. provides to Egypt, saying that “Not all coups are created equal, but a coup is still a coup.”
State television cited acting President Adly Mansour as calling McCain’s comments “an unacceptable interference in internal policies.”
Many Egyptian private TV stations’ talk shows also reacted furiously, reported Reuters. Lamis al-Hadid of CBC TV called the remarks a “big insult to Egypt and its people.”
Envoys from the United States, the European Union, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have been pushing to resolve the crisis in the country and avert further bloodshed between Morsi’s backers and the security forces.
According to the Al-Ahram report, however, there was no breakthrough and the government has cast the blame on what it called the intransigence of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
The newspaper said the interim government would announce” the failure of all U.S., European, Qatari and UAE delegations in convincing the Brotherhood of a peaceful solution to the current crisis.”
The government had allowed the envoys to visit jailed Brotherhood leaders in order to give a peaceful solution a chance.
The interim Egyptian government’s announcement could set the stage for a showdown with pro-Morsi protesters who have been camping out at Rabaa and al-Nahda in Cairo.
The security forces last week promised the protesters safe exit if they left the camps, but warned their patience was limited.