US in new drive to defuse Egypt crisis
Cairo, August 3, 2013
The US said yesterday it would work with other nations to resolve Egypt's crisis peacefully, injecting new energy into a push to end a bloody standoff since the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.
A day after saying the army had restored democracy by removing Mursi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Egyptian authorities to give demonstrators the space to protest in peace - a warning against dispersing pro-Mursi sit-ins.
"We will work very, very hard together with others, in order to bring parties together to find a peaceful resolution that grows the democracy and respects the rights of everybody," Kerry said before a meeting United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed in London.
The meeting appeared to signal a new diplomatic effort to end the crisis in which more than 300 people have been killed. The army removed Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood from power on July 3 in response to mass protests against his rule.
With the European Union already mediating, the new push will rely on the United Arab Emirates to work with the army-backed interim government and Qatar, which supported the Mursi administration, to liaise with the Brotherhood.
Analysts say civilian members of the interim cabinet are trying to promote a political solution despite resistance from security services that want to crack down on the Brotherhood, encouraged by an outpouring of public anger at the movement.
Mohamed ElBaradei, vice president in the new administration, said he was lobbying for talks with the Brotherhood, while others advocated crushing it.
"People are very angry with me because I am saying, 'Let's take time, let's talk to them'. The mood right now is, 'Let's crush them, let's not talk to them'," he said. "I hope the Brotherhood understands that time is not on their side. I'm holding the fort, but I can't hold it for very long."
The Brotherhood said the security forces had fired tear gas on peaceful protesters. Seven Mursi supporters were also injured, security sources said.
Meanwhile, Egyptian state TV reported that the Interior Ministry would impose a cordon around two large pro-Mursi Cairo sit-ins within 48 hours and that the police did not want to break them up by force. – Reuters