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Opposing Forces Agree: US Should Cease 'Meddling' in Egyptian Affairs
Leaders from opposing groups refuse to meet with US diplomat during visit
As the United States marks their first trip to Egypt by a senior official since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, one thing all sides seem to agree on is displeasure at the meddling influence of the United States on Egyptian politics.
Leaders from all sides of the civil discord, which has plagued the Middle Eastern country since Morsi's forcible removal, are snubbing talks with Deputy Secretary of State William Burns following his arrival in Cairo on Sunday.
The slight comes amidst growing calls for the United States to acknowledge the military coup behind Morsi's overthrow, something the global superpower has thus far refused to do in order to maintain the roughly $1.5b in annual aid to the army—seen as a means of securing the border for ally Israel and bolstering interests in Egypt and the Middle East.
"America works against the Egyptian people's interests," Morsi supporter Abdel Khalid Abu Zeinia told Reuters. "America's only concern is its interests, and Israel's. America offers only words, not practical support to democracy."
Supporters of former President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party believe the US had a hand in the ouster while many on the opposing side are angry with the western superpower for their previous support of Morsi and the increasingly authoritarian rule of the party.
According to reports, representatives from both the Islamist Nour Party and the largely youth-driven, anti-Morsi Tamarod movement have turned down talks with the diplomat.
“We reject the interference by Americans or any other external powers in Egyptian affairs," Tamarod spokesperson Hassan Shaheen told Turkish news agency Anadolu. "The principle of national independence cannot be compromised.”
Anti-Morsi groups hung a giant banner in downtown Cairo with a portrait of US ambassador Anne Patterson and the message "Go home, witch!" and Tamrod founder Mahmoud Badr, in a slight to the Americans, reportedly posted a copy of his invitation—including the embassy's telephone number—on the Internet.
Reuters reports that representatives of the Nour Party, "sometime allies of Morsi's Brotherhood," said they rejected meeting Burns because of "unjustified" US meddling in Egypt's politics.
“The truth is, we don’t need the answer to our internal problems to come from abroad," added Amr al-Makki, assistant head of the Nour Party for foreign affairs. "We reject interference in our internal affairs."
Ahead of the US visit, Morsi supporters called for mass demonstrations on Monday.