Muslim Brotherhood deputy leader Khairat al-Shater refused to meet a delegation of Western and Arab mediators who went to his detention at Tora Prison complex in southern Cairo late Sunday.
“Shater refused to meet them or listen to anyone in the delegation,” Mohamed al-Beltagi, a senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), told Anadolu Agency in the small hours of Monday.
“He told them to go and talk to the legitimate president Mohamed Morsi.”
Earlier a US Embassy diplomatic source told AA, US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled bin Mohamed al-Attiya and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nuhayan might visit Morsi after failure to meet al-Shater.
Al-Shater has refused to meet Burns, al-Attiya, al-Nuhayan and European Union envoy Bernadino León.
“Shater refused to meet Arab or foreign visitors and said they should meet president Mohamed Morsi because he is the one in charge and entitled to meet foreign delegations,” sources from the Muslim Brotherhood told AA earlier.
Media reports suggested earlier that Burns was accompanying the Arab and European diplomats to meet Shater in his detention.
A senior Muslim Brotherhood leader described the request to meet al-Shater was a trap to undermine Morsi.
“Burns and the Arab mediators were advised by some Egyptian politicians to meet al-Shater under the pretext that he has the final say in the Muslim Brotherhood,” he told AA.
“The hidden purpose of the advice was to show as if Morsi had no role or say in solving the lingering political crisis in the country, so that increasing international demands for his release would die down,” he added.
“But al-Shater did not fall in the trap and insisted that Morsi is the legitimate president and the only one who can negotiate a solution to the current crisis.”
The Egyptian capital has been abuzz with diplomatic activity in recent days, with officials coming from four continents for talks aimed at resolving Egypt's political impasse.
Pro-Morsi demonstrators have been staging daily mass rallies and sit-ins nationwide since he was ousted by the powerful military on July 3 following mass protests against him.
The two largest sit-ins are in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya and Nahda squares.