There was a renewed international effort to provide a political solution to the ongoing political crisis in Egypt. Representatives from the United States, the European Union, and several Gulf states met with Khairat al-Shater, a deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. U.S. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, having earlier been asked by President Barack Obama to visit Egypt, announced their intention to arrive in Cairo on Monday, while Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and E.U. envoy Bernardino Leon met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy. Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities denied entry to Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, at Cairo International Airport. Karman has stated her opposition to the military’s removal of President Muhammad Morsi.
American diplomatic facilities in Egypt and around the Middle East and North Africa were closed on Sunday, August 4, a working day in the region, amid fears of a terrorist attack. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo ultimately announced that the Embassy would remain closed for the rest of the week.
In Washington, Secretary of State John Kerry tapped Amb. Robert Ford, former ambassador to Syria, to be the new American envoy in Cairo, replacing embattled outgoing Amb. Anne Patterson. Kerry’s recommendation is expected to be followed by a formal nomination from President Barack Obama. Ford will need to be approved by the Senate.
Bombings in Egypt’s restive Sinai Peninsula damaged two Islamic shrines. Such buildings, meant to venerate important figures in Islam, are considered a sacrilege by adherents to more puritanical forms of Islam. Although no one was injured, the strikes are part of an ongoing period of violence in the Sinai.
Morsi’s former chief of staff, Mohamed Refaa al-Tahtawi, and his deputy, Asaad Sheikha, were detained for 15 days by the state prosecutor in Heliopolis. Their detention is related to last December’s violence outside the Ittihadeya Presidential Palace, which saw nine die in clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi demonstrators.