Egypt crisis: Diplomatic push to seek compromise

Supporters of the deposed president Mohammed Morsi perform evening prayer at Rabaa al-Adawiya square in Cairo

Supporters of the ousted President Morsi pray in the square outside Rabaa al-Adawiya square in Cairo

US and EU envoys have been meeting officials from Egypt’s military-backed government and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi.

They are trying to find a peaceful solution to end the political crisis.

Their talks took place amid mounting tensions over plans to break up two mass sit-ins by Morsi loyalists in the capital, Cairo.

More than 100 Morsi supporters have been killed in clashes since he was overthrown by the military on 3 July.

Just hours after meeting members of Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and its political party, the US deputy secretary of state, William Burns, sat down for talks with the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Nabil Fahmy.

They were joined by the European Union’s envoy, Bernardino Leon.

Few official details have been given, but the hope is clearly to prevent further violence and bloodshed, says the BBC’s Yolande Knell in Cairo.

Washington and Brussels expressed concern this week after Egypt’s new interim cabinet ordered police to clear two protest sites where thousands of supporters of the ousted president have been calling for his reinstatement.

Further talks took place overnight between army chief Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi and a prominent group of Islamic clerics.

According to an army statement, Gen al-Sisi told the clerics a peaceful solution could be reached if all sides rejected violence.

However, the preachers were heavily criticised by Morsi loyalists for taking part in the meeting; they say nothing short of Mr Morsi’s reinstatement will end their protests.

On Saturday, the interior ministry renewed its call for the demonstrations to end peacefully, and said this would allow the Muslim Brotherhood to return to a role in the democratic political process.

Thousands have been defying warnings from the authorities to abandon the sit-ins in Cairo at Nahda Square and outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, in the east of the capital.

Thousands of Morsi supporters and their families have been camping there for weeks, demanding his reinstatement.

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