Egypt says diplomacy failed to end crisis
07 August 2013, 16:53
Cairo - Egypt's presidency said on Wednesday that diplomatic
efforts to end the country's political turmoil had failed and warned that the
Muslim Brotherhood of ousted President Mohammed Morsi would be held responsible
for the consequences.
In a statement, interim President Adly Mansour's office said
the period of international efforts that began more than 10 days ago had
The state held the Muslim Brotherhood completely responsible
for "the failure of these efforts and the later events and developments
that might result from this failure related to breaches of the law and
endangering civil peace", it added.
The breakdown raised the prospect of heightened instability
and bloodshed in the largest Arab state which has a peace treaty with Israel
and controls the strategically vital Suez Canal.
Thousands of supporters of Morsi, who was toppled by the
army on July 3, have been staging protest sit-ins in two areas of Cairo for the
last five weeks to demand his reinstatement.
Egyptian authorities had warned they were losing patience
with the sit-ins. The presidency's declaration suggests security forces could
soon use force to break up the gatherings, raising the prospect of more
Almost 300 people have been killed in political violence
since the overthrow, including 80 shot dead by security forces in a single
incident on 27 July.
Envoys from the United States, European Union, Qatar and the
United Arab Emirates have been trying to defuse the crisis and prevent further
The presidency statement said the government had allowed the
envoys "to visit and discuss" the situation, including with jailed
Muslim Brotherhood leaders.
Will of the people
The aim was to urge the Brotherhood to "respect the
will of the people" who had protested to demand an end to Morsi’s rule.
"These efforts did not achieve the hoped-for success,
despite the complete support the Egyptian government offered," said the
There was no immediate reaction from the pro-Morsi camp.
Mohamed Ali Bishr, a senior Brotherhood leader who has
represented the group in the recent talks with diplomats, told Reuters he
needed time to confer with other Brotherhood members before responding to the
The senior US diplomat involved in the mediation effort
left Egypt on Wednesday, Cairo airport officials said shortly after the
government declared diplomatic efforts had failed.
US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns had held talks
with both the government and members of the Muslim Brotherhood during the
mediation effort, together with European Union envoy Bernardino Leon and the
Qatari and UAE foreign ministers.
In a first reaction, a spokesperson for EU foreign policy
chief Catherine Ashton said the Europeans would "continue to do all we can
to try and encourage people to get this inclusive dialogue going, that is so
important to see a return to the democratic transition in Egypt".
The Dutch foreign minister was the latest foreign emissary
to visit Cairo for talks with his Egyptian counterpart, the prime minister and
the president and other officials on Wednesday but his mission appeared to have
come too late.
On Tuesday, two senior US senators visiting Cairo, Lindsey
Graham and John McCain, called on the military to release political prisoners
and start a national dialogue to return the country to democratic rule.
"I didn't know it was this bad. These folks are just
days or weeks away from all-out bloodshed," Graham told the CBS network.
Fears that Morsi was trying to establish an Islamist
autocracy, coupled with a failure to ease economic hardships afflicting most of
Egypt's 84 million people, led to mass street protests, triggering the army
In the latest violence, gunmen in Sinai Peninsula near the
border with Israel killed a politician on Wednesday who was a member of
parliament during the era of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, security sources said.
Attackers in a car fired four bullets at Abdel Hamid Silmi
as he left a mosque, the sources said, adding that he had been a member of
Mubarak's now outlawed National Democratic Party.
Islamist militants, mostly based in North Sinai, have
escalated attacks on security forces and other targets since Morsi was deposed
The Muslim Brotherhood says it has no connection with the
militants, who have struck almost daily, killing about 40 people, according to
medical officials. Many of those killed were members of the security forces.