Talks between Egypt's foreign minister, US envoy conclude

Ahram Online, MENA, Saturday 3 Aug 2013

US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns is one of many foreign diplomats visiting Egypt in efforts to broker an exit to the country's deep political crisis following the ouster of Mohamed Morsi 3 July

Egyptian minister of foreign affairs Nabil Fahmy (Photo courtesy of AUC)

Talks between Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns concluded early Saturday, state news agency MENA reported.

US Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson and European Union Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean Bernardino León attended the talks held at the Egyptian foreign ministry headquarters. The talks lasted almost an hour and no press conference on the outcome was held.

According to MENA, the US Department of State issued a statement Friday with details of the Burns visit. He is expected to hold meetings with Egyptian political leaders concerning the importance of avoiding violence and facilitating a peaceful and inclusive political process.

Burns' visit is his second in less than three weeks.

Burns is not the only foreign figure visiting Egypt in an attempt to close the gap between rival political camps; loyalists of deposed former president Mohamed Morsi, who have held around-the-clock sit-ins for the past four weeks, and those supportive of his ouster. 

EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton was in Egypt last week holding meetings with political figures from the rival camps. Ashton visited Morsi, who has been detained at an undisclosed location since his ouster 3 July. Ashton refused to reveal details of their two-hour meeting, but said he was "well."

León arrived in Egypt Wednesday, at the request of Ashton, for further talks with pro-Morsi leaders and leaders of the transitional government.

In a televised interview on Al-Hayat channel Thursday, León said that the current situation in Egypt is "very difficult," but that there is hope for a solution.

Tension has increased since the transitional Cabinet gave orders Wednesday for the interior ministry to disperse the pro-Morsi sit-in held in Rabaa Al-Adawiya, in the Cairo suburb of Nasr City, using all legal methods. Thousands Morsi supporters camping in the area vowed to stay until Morsi is reinstated.

Previous clashes between protesters and the police left over 200 dead and thousands injured.

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