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Egyptian Prime Minister Says Decision To Disperse Protest Sit-Ins Final

Supporters of Egypt's deposed president, Muhamad Morsi, hold up his image during a protest in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria late on August 5.
Egypt's interim prime minister says the decision to break up sit-in protests by supporters of ousted president Muhammad Morsi is final.

In a televised address from Cairo on August 7, Hazem el-Beblawi said the interim government's patience had "nearly expired."

Supporters of the ousted Islamist president have been camped out in Cairo's Rabaa and Nahda squares since the military removed Morsi from power. Demonstrators insist they will stay until Morsi is reinstated.

"We ask them [Morsi supporters], once more, to leave quickly and return to their homes and work, without resistance," Beblawi said. "The state promises to provide those who do not have blood on their hands with free transportation."

Beblawi accused the protesters of "exceeding all bounds of peacefulness by incitement to violence and the use of weapons and blocking roads."

Beblawi said the interim government had so far resisted using force out of respect for the holy month of Ramadan, which ends this week.

His announcement came after Egypt's presidency said international efforts to mediate an end to the country's political crisis have failed, and blamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood for the failure.

In a statement issued on August 7, the interim President Adli Mansour's office said Western and Arab diplomatic endeavors that began more than 10 days ago have "ended today."

The statement followed efforts by envoys from the United States, the European Union, and the Gulf region to defuse the crisis between the military-installed government and Morsi's supporters.

U.S. senator Lindsey Graham told the CBS network after he met officials from both sides in Cairo on on August 6 that he "didn't know it was this bad. These folks are just days or weeks away from all-out bloodshed."

The European Union said it was very concerned by the breakdown.

A spokesman for European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the EU would continue to promote a national dialogue involving all sides with the aim of restoring democracy.

The spokesman said EU envoy Bernardino Leon was still in Cairo talking to all sides.

Islamist militants, mostly based in the Sinai Peninsula, have escalated attacks on security forces and other targets since Morsi was deposed last month.

Egypt's military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Mohammed Ali said on August 6 that 60 militants have been killed and 103 arrested on the Sinai Peninsula as part of the army's operations there over the past month. He did not name any of suspects killed or detained.
Nearly 300 people have been killed in violence since Morsi was removed by the military on July 3.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP
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