US senators arrive in Egypt to seek end to crisis

Ahram Online , Monday 5 Aug 2013

US senators Graham and McCain to meet members of interim government and opposition during two-day visit to Egypt's capital

Two leading US senators landed in Cairo late Monday afternoon in an attempt to break through the political impasse in Egypt triggered by the overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.

Republican senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, both prominent US foreign policy and security diplomats, arrived to Egypt's capital for a two-day visit. They are scheduled to hold talks with military and political leaders "to have a unified message that we want Egypt to be successful," Graham told CBS television last week.

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

The trip comes as international mediation in Egypt picks up pace. Envoys from the United States, European Union, United Arab Emirates and Qatar have met government, military and opposition officials in Egypt to mediate an end to a stand-off that tipped the army-backed government against Morsi's Islamist loyalists demanding his reinstatement.

The Western and Arab envoys also visited late on Sunday jailed high-ranking Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat El-Shater to help forge a political settlement between both sides.

US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, in Egypt since Friday, is also scheduled to meet the detained head of the Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party on Monday, Al-Ahram reported.

In a meeting with US envoy Burns and European Union envoy Bernadino Leon on Saturday, spokesman of a pro-Morsi delegation said they were ready to accept a political solution provided that the army's chief, General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi – who led Morsi's overthrow on 3 July amid nationwide popular protests against him – be out of any political deal and the 2012 constitution he suspended be restored.

Morsi has been formally remanded in custody at an undisclosed location, facing investigations into an array of accusations including murder and plotting with Palestinian group Hamas.

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