The Egyptian Cabinet’s tweet on Tuesday, which was quickly deleted, suggests they aren’t too pleased with Sen. McCain’s advice to the new government about releasing Muslim Brotherhood prisoners:
McCain remarks from inside the Egy territory to the W.Post insults the Egy sovereignty.we consider him persona non grata.an unwelcome person
— Egyptian Cabinet (@Cabinet_eg) August 6, 2013
McCain went to Egypt with Sen. Lindsey Graham to push for negotiations between the country’s military and Islamists in hopes of putting an end to the political standoff that’s now in its second month.
“We advised the existing government to release some of the Muslim Brotherhood prisoners they are holding as a gesture to try to get negotiations started between them,” McCain said in an interview as he left the country Tuesday.
The two pressed the argument with Egypt’s interim military-backed leaders that patience is running out in both political parties in Congress, McCain said, an implicit threat that some U.S. aid could eventually be withheld, even over the objection of the White House.
McCain (Ariz.) and Graham (S.C.) had earlier lobbied Congress to cut off Egypt’s $1.3 billion in annual military aid after the coup that ousted Morsi from power. But on Tuesday, the senators appeared to signal a shift in that position.
“There are some in Congress who want to sever this relationship,” Graham said at a news conference in Cairo. “We want to maintain it because it is so important to our two nations.”
Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansoursaid in a statement on Wednesday that “these efforts did not achieve the success that was hoped for, despite full support provided by the Egyptian government.” Members of the international community visited in recent days in an attempt to avert an outbreak of violence as Egyptians prepared to celebrate ‘Eid al-Fitr”—the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.