08/08/2013, 00.00
EGYPT
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Egypt PM issues ultimatum, telling Muslim Brotherhood to leave protest camps

Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi tells Muslim Brotherhood protesters "to quickly leave, and return to their homes and work, without being chased." Islamists are in the streets to protest Mohammed Morsi's arrest. After their diplomatic mediation fails, Western diplomats leave a country in a dangerous political deadlock where the Brotherhood and the Armed Forces continue their tug of war.

Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - "The decision to disperse the Rabaa Adawiya and Nahda sit-ins is a final decision," Egypt's Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi announced after the failure of EU- and US-backed mediation with the Muslim Brotherhood. For the premier, "The phase of diplomatic efforts has ended today". The "Muslim Brotherhood [is] completely responsible for the failure of these efforts, and for consequent events," Egypt's presidency added.

Since Morsi's ouster by the military on 3 July, more than 250 people have been killed in clashes between protesters and the military.

Over the past month, Cairo and Egypt have been plunged into a situation of great political instability as pro- and anti-Morsi groups took to the streets. Whilst the Brotherhood continues to demand President Morsi's release and reinstatement, at least 20 million Egyptians, reinvigorated by the support of the Armed Forces, back the interim government and its transition to new elections.

US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and EU envoy Bernardino Leon left Cairo yesterday after failing to make headway in finding a compromise between the army-installed government and Morsi's supporters.

In recent weeks, foreign diplomats tried to encourage talks between the military and the Brotherhood, expressing concern over the dangerous political deadlock facing the country.

In spite of numerous calls by the international community for his release, Mohammed Morsi remains in military custody.

The Brotherhood's supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, is set to stand trial on 25 August for inciting violence.

After the bloody crackdown on 27 July, when at least 80 protesters were killed in unclear circumstances, the possibility that Brotherhood supporters might be forcibly removed from Rabaa Adawiya and Nahda is raising grave concerns about the country's stability.

Meanwhile, Tunisia's Ennahda, the Islamist party that has been in power since 2011, has given in to days of street pressure and violent protests.

Following the murder of an opposition MP on 25 July and subsequent protests led by leftist unions, Ennahda's leader, Rached Ghannouchi, announced today that his government would suspend the work of the Constituent Assembly and start talks.

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