By Ray Fleming

Y esterday afternoon America's Secretary of State, John Kerry, and the European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashdown, issued a joint appeal to the Egyptian government to bring to an end what they called “a dangerous stalemate” between the interim government and the Muslim Brotherhood movement. By the end of today, Friday, or the weekend, the term “dangerous stalemate” may prove to have been too mild a description. A bloodbath cannot be ruled out as the government seems determined to remove, by force if necessary, the thousands of supporters of the deposed and imprisoned Prime Minister Muhammd Morsi who have been sitting outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo and have vowed not to move.

The interim government, backed by the army, seems bent on “whatever it takes” to break-up the Muslim Brotherhood protest despite a succession of diplomatic visitors to Cairo in the past few days who mostly have argued for stronger effort to reach a compromise that could give the Brotherhood a prospect of a future role in Egyptian politics.

The visitors have included the EU's Catherine Ashdown, Mr Kerrr's deputy, William Burns, Senator John McCain, Obama's presidential opponent in 2008, and several leaders from other Middle East countries. All to no avail, apparently. The interim president Adly Mansour blames the Brotherhood and its supporters blame the interim government and army. Egypt cannot be helped if it cannot help itself.

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