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McCain, Graham: Time running short for Egypt

PHOENIX -- Time is running out for Egypt to resolve its inner conflicts, senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham wrote in an opinion piece.

The column, originally published by the Washington Post, was written after McCain and Graham visited Cairo.

In the piece, the senators said they are concerned that time is running out for Egypt, which has been embroiled in political crisis since former president Mohamed Morsi was forced out of office.

But as we said again this week in Cairo, we find it difficult to describe the circumstances of Morsi's removal from office as anything other than a coup. Unsuccessful leaders in a democracy should leave office by losing elections.

Both senators said the only solution is for Egypt to adopt a form of open democracy that would allow all of its citizens to have a voice, including those who once supported Morsi.

The call for democracy comes amid concerns that a vindictive Egypt that does not utilize democracy could isolate certain groups and lead them to radicalization, similar to what happened to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Repeating the worst mistakes of the past now will only condemn Egypt to a future of protracted instability and stagnation, while creating a new generation of radical recruits for terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.

McCain and Graham also called on the Egyptian government and military to recognize the need to protect all citizens and attempt to embrace them instead of seeking out ways to get even. The senators also called for the release of political prisoners.

In closing, McCain and Graham called for continued support of Egypt by the United States.

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