McCain,Graham expected in Egypt Monday

McCain,Graham expected in Egypt Monday
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Monday, August 5, 2013 - 7:59am

In an attempt to break through the political impasse in Egypt, U.S. senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham are expected to arrive in Cairo on Monday to meet with Egypt's interim leaders.

The two Republican senators will meet with interim President Adly Mansour, Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, said Egyptian foreign affairs spokesman Badr Abdelatty.

McCain and Graham are making the trip at U.S. President Barack Obama's request.

"We do have relationships with many of people in Egypt because of our past encounters," McCain told CNN's Dana Bash last week.

Egypt has been embroiled in chaos since the country's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsy, was toppled in a coup last month.

But U.S. officials have refrained from calling the ouster a coup -- a term that could be worth $1.3 billion a year.

If the U.S. formally calls the move as a coup, it would have to cut off that aid. And that "would limit our ability to have the kind of relationship we think we need with the Egyptian armed forces," Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said.

The United States helps Egypt because it's one of only two Arab countries -- along with Jordan -- that made peace with Israel. If Washington pulls its aid, it could affect prospects for peace in the Middle East.

In the last 30 years, only Israel has received more aid than Egypt from the United States.

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