Brotherhood rejects appeal to 'swallow reality'

Updated: 2013-08-06 07:54


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Morsi became Egypt's first freely-elected president in June 2012, 16 months after the overthrow of US-backed strongman Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled for nearly 30 years.

But fears that he 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 huge street demonstrations, triggering the army move.

Speaking about the talks in recent days, Brotherhood spokesman Haddad said the envoys "still carry the position that we should swallow the reality and accept that the military coup has happened and try to recover with minimum damage".

"We refuse to do so," Haddad told Reuters.

There was no agreement on how to start talks, he added.

The state news agency said earlier that diplomats, including US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and European Union envoy Bernardino Leon, had met Shater after midnight at the Tora Prison where he is being held south of Cairo.

Shater is seen as the political strategist of the group that propelled Morsi to office last year, and was arrested on charges of inciting violence after Morsi's downfall.

He told the envoys that only Morsi could "solve the mess" and the only solution was "full restoration of constitutional legitimacy and reversal of the coup", Haddad said.

"They invited him for discussions but he ended it abruptly ... then he walked out of the room," Haddad said.

Morsi is being held at an undisclosed location, facing an investigation into accusations including murder. Most of the rest of the Brotherhood's leadership is also in custody.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Burns had no plans to meet Morsi. She suggested no breakthroughs were imminent.

"There is clearly much more work to do. We have the goal of helping the Egyptians get back to a democratically elected, inclusive government," Harf told reporters.