U.S. SOUGHT DELAY OF MORSI’S OUSTRE, EGYPTIAN LEADER SAYS

CAIRO, Egypt, May 7 – Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the former general who is poised to be elected Egypt’s president in next month’s elections, said in an interview, broadcast Tuesday night, that the American ambassador had asked him to hold off “for a day or two” before ousting the freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, last July.

Mr. Sisi said, he had rebuffed the request, from Ambassador Anne W. Patterson, who is now the assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs.

His remarks, in the second part of a lengthy interview with two talk show hosts, was his first public confirmation that he had discussed the prospect of a military takeover, with American officials in the days before it was carried out.

American officials and Morsi advisers have said, Obama administration officials and United States diplomats, sought until the final hours before the Morsi government was toppled on July 3, to broker an agreement with Mr. Morsi that might have averted the takeover.

A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of diplomatic protocol, said, Washington had held “extensive conversations with the government, the military and the opposition” at the time, “to try to help resolve the crisis in Egypt, without further escalation and violence.” But “none of the sides would compromise,” the official said.

Many of Mr. Sisi’s supporters accuse Washington of actively supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, in part because the Obama administration dealt with Mr. Morsi, as the country’s legitimate leader.

But when pressed by his interviewers about that position, Mr. Sisi declined to endorse it.
Instead, he expressed some appreciation of the view among some in Washington, that Mr. Morsi’s removal was a “coup.” He said, he had urged United States officials to try to see it differently: “Look at us with Egyptian eyes.”

“Don’t apply your culture, your regimes and your development” in evaluating Egypt, Mr. Sisi added, and he predicted improved relations after the coming elections.

At another point, Mr. Sisi said, he had warned a senior United States official, as early as Mar of last year, that he believed the Brotherhood’s “time was up,” although he also said, he held out hope until the afternoon of July 2 that Mr. Morsi might accept a referendum on his exit, rather than imprisonment in a military jail.

SOURCE: MENA

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