The United States has asked Egypt’s former ruling party the Muslim Brotherhood to accept the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi and re-enter the country’s political process.
An official with the political group, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Sunday that American diplomats had contacted the party’s leaders to persuade them to play an active role even after the overthrow of Morsi, a former Brotherhood leader, in a military coup on Wednesday, The New York Times reported.
“They are asking us to legitimize the coup,” the officials said, adding that such an agreement would be a death blow to the Egyptian democracy that was born only last year through free and fair elections following the downfall of the country’s long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak.
However, since taking office last year, Morsi has been accused of seeking to monopolize power by opposition groups which have been trying to have a bigger say in the country’s decision-making.
The situation is still tense in the country five days after the removal of Morsi with demonstrations staged on Sunday in support and opposition to the deposed leader.
On Monday, shots were fired at Morsi supporters near the military building where he is being held, according to the Muslim Brotherhood. The group said that at least 53 pro-Morsi protesters were killed.
Efforts at crafting a transitional government have hit a snag with Salafi al-Nour party blocking the appointment of opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei as prime minister.
The party announced on Monday that it was withdrawing from talks over forming the new government in protest at the “massacre” of Morsi supporters.
“We have decided to withdraw immediately from all negotiations in response to the massacre outside the Republican Guard” headquarters, the Salafist party’s spokesman Nadder Bakkar said.
Interim president Adli Mansour was quoted as saying on Sunday that there was a “tendency” to appoint ElBaradei as vice president and a former chair of Egypt’s investment authority, Ziad Bahaa el-Din, as interim prime minister.