Brotherhood rejects appeal to 'swallow reality'

Updated: 2013-08-06 07:54


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The diplomatic push has so far helped to hold off further bloodshed between Morsi's backers and the security forces.

An EU source in Brussels said the mediators were still trying to build confidence between the various sides and did not want to raise expectations.

"The real thing at this stage is to bring people together so they can actually meet and discuss these issues and for that you have to build up some trust and that can be done by very concrete measures, releasing people, dropping charges, not pressing charges, not moving into the squares, lowering the tension," the source said.

Thousands of Morsi supporters remain camped out in two Cairo sit-ins, which the government has pledged to disperse. The government said on Sunday it would give mediation a chance but warned that time was limited.

Almost 300 people have been killed in political violence since Morsi's overthrow, including 80 shot dead by security forces in a single incident on July 27.

During Monday's march, protesters sprayed graffiti on walls and statues calling army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led Morsi's overthrow, a murderer and a traitor.

Security forces made no attempt to disperse a crowd estimated by reporters at several thousand strong.

"The military came and stole our country, they stole everything," said Mahmoud Isuafi, a businessman from the Nile Delta city of Mansoura. "I want democracy. Where is my vote? I can no longer elect my leader so I protest instead."

The military has laid out a plan that could see a new head of state elected in roughly nine months. The Brotherhood, which spent decades in the shadows before Mubarak's downfall, says it wants nothing to do with it.

However, diplomats say the Brotherhood knows Morsi will not return as president and wants a face-saving formula for him to step down that guarantees it a stake in the political future.

Two US senators, Republicans Lindsey Graham and John McCain, arrived in Cairo at President Barack Obama's request to meet members of the new government and the opposition.

Before leaving on the mission, Graham said the Egyptian military must back out of politics quickly or risk a cut of the $1.5 billion in aid it receives from Washington each year.

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