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Egypt claims foreign diplomacy efforts have failed

The Egyptian presidency has blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for what it calls a failed effort by foreign diplomats to put an end to Egypt's political deadlock. It said the phase of diplomacy was now over.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the presidency of the interim government said efforts by US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, the European Union envoy Bernardino Leon, and foreign diplomats from Gulf states had failed to bring the government any closer to an end in its standoff with supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood.

"These efforts have not achieved the hoped-for results," the statement from the office of interim President Adly Mansour read. It added that the presidency "holds the Muslim Brotherhood completely responsible for the failure of these efforts, and for consequent events and developments relating to violations of the law and endangering public safety."

The response could indicate that Egypt's interim government is preparing to move against two camps of Morsi supporters in Cairo, where sit-ins have been staged since Morsi was ousted on July 3. The presidency's statement said the period of diplomacy, which began 10 days ago, "ended today."

Despite the government's unwillingness to continue diplomatic efforts, a spokesperson for the EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said the EU would continue its efforts at finding a peaceful solution to the political stalemate.

" We 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," said Michael Mann.

Around 300 people have died in clashes between supporters of the new government and the toppled Morsi since his removal by Egypt's military. There are fears that the violence will escalate if the government moves to forcibly break up the demonstrations of Morsi supporters.

mz/ipj (AP, Reuters, AFP)