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U.S. faces tough job to broker dialogue between Egypt's rival sides: analysts

By Marwa Yahia (Xinhua)

13:39, February 26, 2013

CAIRO, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. mediation can do little to persuade Egypt's various political forces to sit down for dialogue to resolve the country's political crisis, given each side's reluctance to compromise, analysts say.

"The United States couldn't motivate the political forces which rejected any concessions, as the Muslim Brotherhood sees the opposition doesn't represent for all Egyptians, while the opposition accusing the president doesn't respond to its demands," said Mazin Hassan, political professor at Cairo University.

The U.S. mediation would not help much as the two sides refuse to make concession, said Hassan.

Egypt's Ahram online reported Monday that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has, via the U.S. embassy, contacted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, presidential advisor Essam el-Haddad, the deputy of Muslim Brotherhood General Guide, Khairat al-Shater, and three other members of the National Salvation Front: Mohamed El- Baradei, Amr Moussa and Sayyed al-Badawi, urging them to engage in national dialogue.

Kerry stressed that the political stability in Egypt cannot be achieved without consensus over a political map.

It is better for Egypt that "rapprochement among its political players ... happen with internal motivation for the interest of the nation," Hassan said, adding "no sovereign country will accept another country to broker talks between its government and the opposition."

Even with the worsening economy, Morsi may not accept Kerry's call, despite the latter's pledge that Washington will support the International Monetary Fund's loan to Egypt, as Morsi faces more internal pressures at the present stage.

Ann Patterson, U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, said in a recent press statement that she is bidding to narrow down the differences between the Egyptian government and opposition, while U.S. Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human rights and Labor, Michael Posner, claimed that "Washington won't align with any party on account of the others."

According to Noha Bakir, professor of political sciences at American University in Cairo, opportunities for the U.S. mediation to succeed depend on intentions of all the Egyptian sides and their desire to reach a solution.

"Even if the U.S.'s bids to broker talks among the ruling party and the opposition leaders worked, stability wouldn't easily reach the Egyptian streets, which are burdened by clashes," Bakir said. The opposition National Salvation Front does not represent the Egyptians and is not capable of stopping protests of civil disobedience, she said.

Meanwhile, Washington's interest in mediating the national dialogue in Egypt comes in light of Cairo's important role in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, she said.

Washington fears that instability in the region might negatively influence its investments, as Egypt secures its ships through the Suez Canal and "Israeli security is tied with Egypt," said Bakir.

She added that the United States observes cautiously new relations between Egypt and Iran, even with Egypt's reassurance message, because it believes "Egypt, after its uprising, isn't the same as it was in (Hosni) Mubarak's time -- especially with the Egyptian hatred to Israel."

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