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US Intensifies Mediation Efforts in Egypt

  • VOA News

U.S. Senator. John McCain and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham shown on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 4, 2013.

U.S. Senator. John McCain and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham shown on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 4, 2013.

Two U.S. lawmakers and a top diplomat are in Cairo attempting to mediate an end to the standoff between Egypt's military-backed government and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns met with a jailed senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood after talks with the nation's interim leaders. U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain are also expected to meet with the transitional military leadership.

Burns met Khairat el-Shater, the deputy head of the Brotherhood, which supports Morsi returning to power. The meeting was in the prison were the Islamist figure is being held, the Associated Press reported.

The United States is urging all sides in Egypt to stop the violence and put together a transitional government that represents all sides.

The interim government said Sunday it will put Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Badie and Shater on trial August 25 on charges of inciting violence. Badie remain at large. The men are accused of starting violence that led to the deaths of protesters outside Brotherhood headquarters in June, days before the military overthrew Morsi on July 3.

The Brotherhood and Morsi supporters have set up two large round-the-clock vigils in Cairo, demanding his reinstatement.

Police helicopters dropped flyers over one of the camps Sunday, telling the protesters that the Brotherhood has "mentally kidnapped" them. The message says police will not harm demonstrators if they go home now.

The interim government has threatened to break up the protest camps, but now says it wants to allow time for mediation.

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