Senior U.S. diplomat Burns to visit Egypt this week

WASHINGTON Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:46pm EDT

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns makes remarks at the start of the Ecopartnership event of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) at the State Department in Washington July 11, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns makes remarks at the start of the Ecopartnership event of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) at the State Department in Washington July 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns will visit Egypt this week to meet interim government officials and stress the need to end violence and move toward a democratically elected government, the State Department said on Sunday.

Burns will also hold talks with executives and members of civil society, said a department statement that made no mention of whether he will meet with the military that ousted President Mohamed Mursi or Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

"In all these meetings, he will underscore U.S. support for the Egyptian people, an end to all violence, and a transition leading to an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government," the department said in a brief statement.

The second-ranking U.S. diplomat, who speaks Arabic, has written a book on economic aid and U.S. policy toward Egypt and has extensive experience in the Arab world. He will visit Cairo from Sunday to Tuesday.

Mursi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, has been held incommunicado at an undisclosed location since the army removed him from office after millions of Egyptians took to the streets to march against him.

The authorities have not charged him with a crime but said on Saturday they were investigating complaints against him over spying, inciting violence and wrecking the economy.

The Obama administration has carefully avoided criticizing Mursi's ouster or calling for him to be reinstated while seeking to portray itself as not taking sides in Egypt's political turmoil.

(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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