A joint plea from both Washington and Brussels has been issued, urging the interim government in Egypt to avoid political polarization. Cairo has blamed the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood for a lack of progress.
The joint appeal from the EU and US came after the Egyptian leadership announced that foreign intervention in mediating a solution with the Muslim Brotherhood had failed.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and the EU foreign policy head Catherine Ashton, released the statement on Wednesday, calling for an end to both violence and intransigence on both sides.
"While further violent confrontations have thus far been avoided," the joint statement said "we remain concerned and troubled that government and opposition leaders have not yet found a way to break a dangerous stalemate and agree to implement tangible confidence building measures."
The transition administration - placed in power by the military after the July 3 ouster of President Mohammed Morsi - has blamed the Brotherhood for the failure. The Brotherhood, in turn, attributes the breakdown to the leadership.
The two Western foreign policy leaders stressed the Cairo government had a duty to protect Egyptian citizens, as well as the democratic process. They warned of the danger of more violence - and of apportioning blame.
"This remains a very fragile situation, which holds not only the risk of more bloodshed and polarization in Egypt, but also impedes the economic recovery which is so essential for Egypt's successful transition," they said.
"Now is not the time to assess blame, but to take steps that can help initiate a dialogue and move the transition forward."
'A critical time'
Kerry and Ashton underlined their support for any effort to reach a negotiated solution, provided that it had a return to democracy at its heart.
In a message on Thursday, the eve of the Muslim holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, Egypt's acting President Adly Mansour said the situation was at present "critical."
The interim administration's announcement that foreign efforts had failed followed a visit by US senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain on Tuesday. They enraged Egyptian authorities by declaring that the removal of Morsi from power had been a "coup."
The word coup has been studiously avoided by the actual administration in Washington, because such a designation would, under US law, require that aid to Egypt's military be halted.
rc / mr (AFP, Reuters, dpa, AP)