- The Washington Times - Monday, July 15, 2013

The first senior-level U.S. diplomat to visit Egypt since the military coup against President Mohammed Morsi was snubbed on Monday — by both Islamists and their opponents.

Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns was supposed to meet with “civil society groups” and with government officials, Newsmax reported, but neither side wanted to talk. Officials with the Islamist Nour Party and with the anti-Morsi protest group Tamarud declined invitations to meet, Newsmax said.

The slight was a bit of embarrassment to the United States, which provides $1.5 billion to Egypt each year. Most of the money actually helps the nation’s army — the same one that ousted Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mr. Morsi a couple weeks ago, Newsmax said.

“First, [America] need to acknowledge the new system,” said Mahoud Badr, the founder of Tamarud, in a Reuters report. “Secondly, they must apologize for their support for the Muslim Brotherhood’s party and terrorism. Then we can think about [talking].”

Nour, meanwhile, said it turned down Mr. Burns‘ request to meet because of America’s “unjustified” meddling in Egyptian politics.

Muslim Brotherhood officials said they did not have plans to meet with Mr. Burns.