U.S. envoy leaves Egypt after mediation efforts 'fail'
European Union says 'very concerned,' vows to press on; government says will break up Cairo sit-ins by Morsi supporters.
A senior U.S. diplomat involved in trying to mediate an end to Egypt's political crisis left the country on Wednesday, Cairo airport officials said, after the Egyptian government declared that diplomatic efforts to find a way out of the standoff with the Muslim Brotherhood have failed.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns had held talks with both the government and members of the Muslim Brotherhood during the mediation effort, together with envoys from the European Union, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
Egypt's presidency said in a statement that the 10-day efforts to defuse the crisis between the government and supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, who hails from the Islamist group, have ended and that it holds the Brotherhood responsible for this failure.
The European Union said on Wednesday it was very concerned about the reported failure of diplomatic efforts to end Egypt's political crisis and urged all sides to reach a peaceful solution.
"We are very concerned about the latest reports," Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said, commenting on the Egyptian presidency's statement that international mediation efforts had ended.
"The EU is urging all political groups to find a peaceful solution to the current stalemate. We are present on the ground talking to all sides," he said, referring to EU envoy Bernardino Leon who is on a mediation mission to Egypt.
Earlier, Mann told reporters the European Union "will continue to do all we can to try and encourage people to get this inclusive dialogue going, that is so important to see a return to the democratic transition in Egypt. We will continue our efforts."
Also on Wednesday, Egypt's interim prime minister said the government had not retreated from its decision to break up two Cairo sit-ins by Morsi supporters. Hazem el-Beblawi, speaking in a televised statement, also said the protesters had "broken all the limits of peacefulness" by inciting violence, using weapons, blocking roads, and detaining citizens.
Violence in Alexandria
Earlier Wednesday, a security official said clashes between supporters of the country's ousted president and residents of Egypt's Mediterranean city of Alexandria have left one dead and dozens wounded.
The security official said residents of Manshiya neighborhood were angered by marchers who were chanting against the country's armed forces. It was not immediately clear what sparked the violence.
He said 46 people were wounded, including some by gunshot and birdshot, in the fighting that broke out before dawn Wednesday. He spoke anonymously as he was not authorized to talk to media.
So far more than 250 people have been killed in violence since the military ousted Morsi from power July 3. His supporters have staged daily protests since.