CAIRO — A U.S. envoy met with a jailed leader of the Muslim Brotherhood on Monday as part of an intensifying international effort to end the political crisis that began after Egypt's security services deposed President Mohammed Morsi last month.
In a maximum-security prison on the outskirts of Cairo, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, along with a diplomat from the European Union, met with the Brotherhood's chief strategist, Khairat el-Shater, one of several Islamist leaders detained over the past month. A State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, said the meeting's aim was to calm tensions and facilitate "an inclusive dialogue among Egyptians."
A Brotherhood spokesman, Gehad el-Haddad, said the meeting was brief, was heated at one point and did not result in any immediate breakthrough.
A steady stream of foreign emissaries has visited Egypt since July 27, when the police and civilian allies fired on a protest by Morsi's supporters, killing at least 80 people, the second mass killing by the security services since the former president's ouster on July 3.
The emissaries, including Burns, are attempting the far more difficult task of advancing negotiations between the military, which directed the ouster of Morsi, and the Brotherhood, but their positions remain, at least publicly, far apart. Adding to the effort was the expected arrival Monday of two U.S. senators, John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, both Republicans.