CAIRO — United States Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina met with members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo this past week in an effort to help move the country forward following the ousting of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.
“We’re here to help find an Egyptian solution to an Egyptian problem,” Graham told reporters, remarking that life in the nation needs to be returned to normal as soon as possible.
“We met some Muslim Brotherhood representatives. They were senior-level people,” McCain told the Daily Beast. “They believe things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. They demand that [deposed President Mohamed] Morsi get released. They believe it was a military coup and they are very far apart from the military and the new government.”
McCain advised that he also believes that the incident this summer was indeed a military coup, a characterization that has thus far been avoided by the Obama administration. According to reports, if the U.S. government classifies the event as a coup, it will require a cut in the $1.3 billion in aid that the nation supplies to Egypt.
Violence continues to break out in the country as supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood protest those that ousted Morsi. The Islamic leader had taken office in June 2012 after the Brotherhood claimed victory in the elections.
However, as previously reported, Christians in the country claimed that they had been threatened to refrain from participating the elections. Threats ranged from kidnapping, to the burning of their homes, shops and possessions, to murder. Christians continue to be fearful as Egypt remains in upheaval.
In the meantime, the Egyptian military has appointed an interim president and cabinet, and is working toward restoring democracy, but some members of the Brotherhood would like to see Morsi reinstated.
“We told [the Muslim Brotherhood leaders] that in our view, the best way to resolve this issue was to renounce and condemn violence, that they should be willing to negotiate if some of the Brotherhood were released from prison,” McCain explained to reporters. “We were not negotiating, we were just saying what we thought had to be done to get back to the negotiating table.”
There are currently conflicting reports as to whether Barack Obama will meet with members of the Muslim Brotherhood following the visit from McCain and Graham. The Egypt Independent states that unnamed sources advised that Obama would meet with officials to “hear their opinion,” but the White House denies that a meeting is in the foreseeable future.
“Egyptian press reports that the president has agreed to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood are completely false,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told Breitbart News. “The president has no such plans at this time.”
However, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns also visited the country last week, meeting Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Khairat el-Shater in prison, who is set to face a trial at the end of August for inciting violence along with Mohamed Badie.
The State Department said in a statement that Burns visited Egypt “to discuss with Egyptian leaders the importance of avoiding violence and helping to facilitate a peaceful and inclusive political process.”