Secret talks between Brotherhood and Egyptian state reported

Thousands march calling for reinstatement of Mohamed Morsi

Supporters of Egypt’s ousted president, Mohammed Morsi, attend Friday prayers at a camp near Cairo University in Giza yesterday. It is reported that secret negotiations to “avoid bloodshed” have been taking place between the state and the Muslim Brotherhood. Photograph: Amr Nabil/AP Photo

Supporters of Egypt’s ousted president, Mohammed Morsi, attend Friday prayers at a camp near Cairo University in Giza yesterday. It is reported that secret negotiations to “avoid bloodshed” have been taking place between the state and the Muslim Brotherhood. Photograph: Amr Nabil/AP Photo

Sat, Aug 3, 2013, 01:00


Thousands of Egyptians calling for the reinstatement of deposed president Mohamed Morsi yesterday took to the streets of Cairo and other cities in “marches of millions” as state-owned daily Al-Ahram reported that secret negotiations to “avoid bloodshed” and clashes have been taking place between the state and the Muslim Brotherhood. More than 250 people have died since Mr Morsi was ousted on July 3rd.

Brotherhood activists attempted to establish two new campsites near existing sit-ins at Nasr City and Giza while police fired tear gas when marchers attempted to storm the gates of a media complex on the outskirts of Cairo.

The military has said “no time” has been set to disperse the two main encampments but state television reported access would be prohibited but people inside would be allowed to leave.


‘Restoring democracy’
US deputy secretary of state William Burns arrived on his second visit to Cairo since the ousting of Mr Morsi and is due to hold talks with civilian and military figures today.

His mission follows the declaration by secretary of state John Kerry that Egypt’s military was “restoring democracy” when it toppled Mr Morsi. Mr Kerry said: “The military was asked to intervene by millions and millions of people, all of whom were afraid of a [descent] into chaos, into violence.

“And the military did not take over, to the best of our judgement – so far, to run the country. There’s a civilian government. In effect, they were restoring democracy.”

Mr Kerry’s comments coincided with the publication by the Democracy Index of the figure of 30 million taking part in demonstrations calling for Mr Morsi’s ousting and one million who joined pro-Morsi rallies.

Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad called Kerry’s comment “absurd” and “alarming” and argued Washington was “complicit in the military coup.”

The Brotherhood has rejected EU, US, and UN calls for dialogue and the mediation of the world’s supreme Sunni figure, Ahmed el-Tayeb.

After reiterating the call for dialogue, EU envoy Bernardino Leon said the 28-member bloc had for “months” before Mr Morsi’s removal urged the former Brotherhood government to share power.

Although the Brotherhood has invited human rights groups to visit the main sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya to observe conditions and check on weapons, a delegation from six organisations was shunned, not allowed to photgraph and denied entry at a field hospital. Mokhtar Mohamed from the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre was assaulted in the presence of leading Brotherhood figure Ahmed Sobei.

Tamarod spokesman Mahmoud Badr proposed a “squares without weapons” initiative during a meeting with Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi. “Turning a sit-in into an arsenal and intimidating citizens is unacceptable.”

The Tamarod campaign mounted the massive anti-Morsi rally that led to his removal.