World Bulletin/News Desk
Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi began marching to demand his restoration on Thursday after the military-led authorities that removed him held off from carrying out a threat to clear protest sit-ins by force.
Interim President Adly Mansour declared on Wednesday that international diplomatic efforts to resolve the political crisis had failed and the government warned protesters to leave their protest camps, saying the decision to remove them was final.
U.S. and European Union envoys left Cairo on Wednesday after the breakdown of their attempts to broker a solution, which had also involved Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
A military source said the authorities were holding back from using force to clear the protest camps partly due to fear that liberal Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei would resign, removing a key source of political legitimacy for army rule.
Thousands of demonstrators converged on a Brotherhood protest camp in northeastern Cairo in a festive atmosphere to attend prayers and a rally on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday after the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
"I came here because I want to make a small difference," said Ghada Idriss, 35, who travelled from the rural province of Minya by car with her husband, two young sons, and two-month-old daughter Lougine.
"By sitting here peacefully, they will understand and know that we refuse the return of the system of Hosni (Mubarak)."
Secular and leftist groups have also called for mass demonstrations and public prayers across Egypt to support the military’s July 3 of Morsi after just a year in office.
The Brotherhood allowed a human rights organisation and a European Parliament delegation to visit the main Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in, where anti-Morsi media have alleged that weapons had been stockpiled.
So far, the Brotherhood has refused to accept what it calls an illegal coup against Morsi and has publicly demanded the return of the elected president, who is detained at a secret location. The new authorities have begun a campaign of detaining Brotherhood members by accusingthem of inciting violence. They have frozen the Brotherhood's assets and vowed to put them on trial.
“TRAIN HAS DEPARTED”
"The train of the future has departed, and everyone must realise the moment and catch up with it, and whoever fails to realise this moment must take responsibility for their decision," interim president Mansour said in an Eid broadcast.
Diplomats have said any settlement would have to involve a dignified exit for Morsi, Brotherhood acceptance of the new disposition, the release of political prisoners arrested since the takeover and a future political role for the Brotherhood.
The United States and the EU said on Wednesday they were very concerned that the Egyptian parties had not found a way to break what they called a dangerous stalemate.
"This remains a very fragile situation, which holds not only the risk of more bloodshed and polarization in Egypt, but also impedes the economic recovery, which is so essential for Egypt's successful transition," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, who was visiting Cairo when the talks collapsed, told Reuters the country's new rulers appeared to see no merit in talking to the Brotherhood now, but they would have to do so eventually and the sooner the better.
Several senior Brotherhood figures who escaped arrest have been holed up at the sit-in, including the movement's guide, Mohamed Badie, and some former ministers and parliamentary leaders.
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Acting foreign minister Andriy Deshchytsia vowed to defend Crimea from falling to Russia.
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If the report is confirmed, it would mark the U.S.-built airliner's deadliest crash since entering service 19 years ago.