U.N. political affairs chief set to travel to Egypt next week

Reuters News
|
Posted: Aug 16, 2013 12:37 PM

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations is sending its political affairs chief to Egypt next week to meet with a range of officials including representatives from the Muslim Brotherhood amid the ongoing violence following the army's ousting of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi last month, the world body said on Friday.

U.N. officials said the trip by Jeffrey Feltman, U.N. under secretary-general for political affairs and the former top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East, will help the world body work out how to respond to the Egypt crisis.

"The schedule is still being worked out. However, it goes without saying that Mr. Feltman intends to meet with a range of interlocutors, inside and outside the government, including the Muslim Brotherhood," the United Nations said.

Feltman will also go to several other countries in the Middle East for consultations following U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's visit to the region this week, according to the U.N. statement announcing the trip.

"Mr. Feltman will report to the secretary-general (on the Egyptian crisis), and the secretary-general will take Mr. Feltman's advice into consideration and decide what the next steps are," U.N. spokesman Eduardo del Buey told reporters.

Protests by supporters of Mursi turned violent in Egypt on Friday, with witnesses reporting four dead in Cairo and at least 12 killed in northern cities as the Muslim Brotherhood staged a "Day of Rage.

The violence followed Wednesday's assault by government security forces on two Brotherhood sit-ins in Cairo that left hundreds dead as security forces tried to end the weeks of turbulence following the toppling of Mursi on July 3.

The U.N. Security Council urged all parties in Egypt on Thursday to end the violence and exercise maximum restraint. The 15-member council was briefed on the situation in Egypt behind closed doors by U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson.

During Feltman's visit to Egypt he will "listen to a diversity of viewpoints about the crisis and the way forward," the United Nations said.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Will Dunham)