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US senators to travel to Egypt for talks with military leaders

AFP , Wednesday 31 Jul 2013
Views: 1331
Views: 1331

Two leading US senators said they have been asked by President Barack Obama to travel to Egypt to urge the country's military to hold new elections, US media reported Wednesday.

Republican senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, seen as leading legislative voices on US foreign policy and security matters, told reporters that they plan to travel next week to Cairo.

"The president asked Senator McCain and myself to go to Egypt next week, so we're trying to find a way to get there," Graham told CBS television.

Graham said the goal of the trip is to "reinforce in a bipartisan fashion the message that we have to move to civilian control -- that the military is going to have to allow the country to have new elections and move toward an inclusive, democratic approach."

He and McCain, who was the Republican party's presidential nominee in 2008, intend to "talk to the military and the political leaders -- hopefully including the Muslim Brotherhood -- to have a unified message that we want Egypt to be successful," said Graham.

The South Carolina lawmaker continued: "You cannot stop the progress and the march for democracy that the military has to turn over as fast as possible control to a civilian government."

Graham added: "The days of supporting friendly dictators or military regimes are behind us, the Arab Spring is real.

"I'm glad the president asked. We'll try to deliver a bipartisan message. We'll try to bring out the best in the future in Egypt before it's too late."

The United States repeatedly has urged restraint by Egypt's military since its ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist who was the nation's first democratically elected leader.

Since July 3, Egypt has been ruled by an interim government with a caretaker president appointed by the army.

US Secretary of State John Kerry over the weekend expressed "deep concern" over "bloodshed and violence" in Egypt that has killed and injured scores, saying the country faced a "pivotal moment."

Still, Washington has refused to use the term coup to describe the Morsi's overthrow, a designation that would require a cutoff in US aid, which totals around $1.5 billion (1.1 billion euros) a year.

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