Egyptian Govt: McCain 'persona non grata, an unwelcome person'
The Egyptian Cabinet took offense to comments Senator John McCain (R - AZ) made to the Washington Post about his advice to the new government of Egypt about releasing Muslim Brotherhood prisoners. The cabinet tweeted on Tuesday:
The Egyptian government quickly deleted the tweet.
McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham (R - S.C.) are both in Egypt in an attempt to the push U.S. policy that the current interim leadership should negotiate with supporters of the now ousted president Mohamed Morsi. According to the Washington Post:
“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.”
Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have not been in communication since July 3, when Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood members were forced out of leadership by the Egyptian military. McCain and Graham insist they are not in Egypt to broker a deal with both sides.
Additionally, the interim Egyptian president Adly Mansour publicly criticized McCain's coup comments earlier today.