- Middle East/North Africa
Republican Senator John McCain and a US delegation are encouraging the Egyptian opposition to engage in dialogue with President Mohamed Morsy and his government.
McCain, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is leading the delegation visiting Cairo. The group held separate talks with opposition leaders Mohamed ElBaradei and Amr Moussa Wednesday, along with other officials from the opposition coalition National Salvation Front.
During the meeting with ElBaradei, MaCain reportedly discussed the front's vision for achieving national consensus and the future of the post-revolution democratic process.
McCain also met with Moussa, several Egyptian diplomats and public figures, US Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson and American foreign relations and national security advisers.
The front told McCain that the opposition rejects the policies of the Cabinet but does not contest the legitimacy of Morsy's administration, front member and former Foreign Minister Mohamed al-Orabi told Al-Masry Al-Youm. He also said that McCain asked the opposition to organize its ranks to help establish a genuine democracy and prepare for parliamentary elections.
Mohamed Abul Ghar, head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, said opposition participation is essential to stability. The front does not reject dialogue with the presidency or the Muslim Brotherhood, but requires a specific agenda as a prerequisite for talks.
The US senator and former presidential candidate emphasized that the US wants Egypt to have a democracy, serve as a model for the Arab world and hold transparent elections, Abul Ghar said.
McCain also pledged the payment of US$189 million as part of a $450 million aid package that the US Congress had suspended. The delegation also includes Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte and Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand, Richard Blumenthal, Sheldon Whitehouseand Christopher Coons.
The National Salvation Front brought together 13 political parties and groups following Morsy's controversial Constitutional Declaration in November, which was seen by critics as a power grab.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm