The United States on Wednesday urged the Egyptian military and the country’s bitterly divided political factions to resolve their differences through dialogue and agree on a return to democratic rule.
“Over the course of the last several days, envoys of the United States, the EU, the UAE and Qatar provided constructive ideas to the Egyptians in order to help prevent further violence and help advance the transition to a democratically elected civilian government,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
Egypt’s interim government, which was installed last month by the military after troops overthrew elected president Mohammad Mursi, has demanded that his Islamist supporters bring an end to their street protests.
This has increased fears that the already tense situation could descend into violence.
The United States sent Deputy Secretary of State William Burns to Cairo to talk to both parties to the dispute and try to find a peaceful solution, but his diplomacy was overshadowed by a visit by Senator John McCain.
McCain enraged supporters of the military and the interim regime by dubbing their power grab a “coup”, a term that President Barack Obama’s administration has studiously avoided.
“We have said that we share the democratic aspirations and criticisms of the Mursi government that led millions of Egyptians into the streets on June 30. We have also said that the circumstances of the former government’s president’s removal were a coup,” McCain said Tuesday.
Psaki told reporters that McCain had not been representing the United States on his visit.
“We absolutely do not believe that the time for dialogue has passed. We will continue this conversation, and it certainly remains a priority of ours and obviously a priority of the EU and other officials around the world who’ve been involved,” Psaki said.
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