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US senators urge end to violence in Egypt and release of MB leaders

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Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham call for a transitional roadmap with clear timetables and inclusive reconciliation

Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Bablawi (R) meeting with U.S. senators John McCain (C) and Lindsey Graham (L) at his office in Cairo. (AFP)

Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Bablawi (R) meeting with U.S. senators John McCain (C) and Lindsey Graham (L) at his office in Cairo. (AFP)

United States senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham on Tuesday urged immediate action from both sides of Egypt’s political impasse in the face of civil unrest.

“It is essential for all parties to refrain from acts and incitement of violence. We believe they should treat each other with respect,” said McCain during a Tuesday press conference in Cairo. “We also urge the release of political prisoners…[and] a national dialogue that is inclusive of parties including the Muslim Brotherhood.”

“At the same time we expect the Muslim Brotherhood to refrain from violence,” added McCain

“We’re hopeful that the transition will be one of going back to democracy,” said Graham. “That is the only type of transition we can support.”

The senators, who arrived to Cairo on Monday, met with members of the interim government, Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, and supporters of the ousted president Mohamed Morsi, including members of the Freedom and Justice Party, according to McCain.

The two senators stressed the importance that calm be restored to the streets of Egypt and that the upcoming transition be one conducive to the “return of democracy” to the country.

“We have urged the interim government and the armed forces to protect the rights and freedoms of all Egyptians and their right to protest peacefully,” said McCain, who also added that the “demonisation” of the United States in Egyptian state media was “harmful to our relationship.”

“Violence will kill (literally and figuratively) the future of Egypt….if 400 more die, it is going to be very difficult to put this country back on track,” said Graham.

McCain also said that in his meetings with Egyptian officials he had urged the release of “political prisoners” and pressed for national dialogue, the amending of the constitution, and elections all under a strict timetable.

The senators indicated that they saw the release of Muslim Brotherhood leaders who are currently detained as a first step to curb ongoing violence in the country, but also called on the ousted president’s supporters to be peaceful.

“If you think you’re going to restore legitimacy through violence, that is the worst possible act you could take,” said Graham. “I am here to tell those who feel wronged in the Muslim Brotherhood and those who supported president Morsi that violence will only marginalise you throughout the world.”

Democracy, said McCain, “means more than elections. It means democratic governance.”

Both senators also said that upcoming elections should involve international observers and monitors.

Graham stated that the United States could not revive the policies it had under Mubarak, a relationship that “was not beneficial to the average Egyptian.”

“Those days are behind us as a nation,” he said.

The senators both stated that the change in power that came on 3 July was a coup d’état. “If it quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, then it’s a duck,” said McCain, who added that Hosni Mubarak’s 2011 ouster was also a coup, but one that came as a result of violence that was “not sustainable.”

Said Graham, “the people in power weren’t elected and the people who were elected are now in jail.”

“I believe the Morsi election was free and fair. I believe the way he governed alienated the army and millions of Egyptians,” he added.

The senators insisted that they did not want recent political developments in Egypt to damage the ties between the two countries.

“There are some in Congress that want to sever this relationship,” said Graham. We want to maintain it.”

McCain added that cutting off aid to Egypt would be the “wrong signal and the wrong thing to do at the wrong time.

The senior American politicians also stated that they did not come to contribute to ongoing negotiations.

“My message to the Egyptain people is simple,” said Graham. “We’re here to help find an Egyptian solution to an Egyptian problem.”

“We are here as longtime friends of Egypt,” said McCain “to urge them to avert the catastrophic consequences of the path that may transpire if they stay on the path they’re on of polarisation.”

“We explained our point of view and position and the reasons why we are here in hopes that this process will move forward.”

 

 

 

 

 

  • Reda Sobky

    It is always good advice to do things in a manner that avoids violence or even commit to nonviolence as an approach to confrontation. However, the middle east is a turbulent place where political and historic conflicts are played out violently as we behold in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Iran. The conflict in Egypt could have gone down that road and the Egyptian military tried its best to contain the situation until June 30 and then the army had to intervene to save the country from this ominous fate. The unfinished constitution of the USA cost the lives of the civil war dead, and the Egyptian document was much more deficient and would have doomed Egypt to further or even endless conflict. This removal is an impeachment by the fourteen million who withdrew their consent as the governed from this regime and their brothers in the army responded with support and removal. It is important to respect the will of the Egyptian people in the here and now and not based on a sham election and a phony constitution. This was a fraud in progress and what was being stolen was the future of the young. I know the honorable senators would not personally accept to live under a religious dictatorship, why expect Egyptians to submit to that, ballot or no ballot.

  • Sam Boulis

    I find Mr. Sobky’s comment to be credible, truthful and flawless, unfortunately our senators are wrong in asking the Egyptian government to release people who have incited violence and murdered innocent people. The Egyptian government should be able to govern anyway they see fit.

    • DAMNtoMilitaryrule

      I wonder if the power grab people in Egypt now are unscathed of crime? As we are in the time of ” A force oppresses a law” only your politic opponent are to be crushed.

      • Sam Boulis

        Only your twisted thinking and your Islamist following that will oppress all!

        • DAMNtoMilitaryrule

          Unfortunately if your not tolerant you are the one believing in discrimination.
          remember that the abuse of 60 years power in Egypt is not by Islamist but those your are supporting . How was human right in that period?


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