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US senators urge release of Egypt’s Islamists

This image released by Egyptian Presidency shows interim Vice President Mohamed Elbaradei left meets with U.S. Deputy Secretary State William

This image released by the Egyptian Presidency shows interim Vice President Mohamed Elbaradei, left, meets with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, center, in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013. Top U.S., European and Arab envoys visited a jailed Muslim Brotherhood leader Monday on a mission to ease tensions between Egypt's military-backed government and supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. The talks between Burns and Khairat el-Shater took place in the prison where the Muslim Brotherhood figure is being held.(AP Photo/Egyptian Presidency)

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CAIRO (AP) — Two senior U.S. senators have urged Egypt’s military-backed government to release detained members of the Muslim Brotherhood before starting negotiations.

Tuesday’s comments came after John McCain and Lindsey Graham met with top military and civilian leaders in Cairo as part of a flurry of international efforts to resolve a standoff with supporters of the ousted president Mohammed Morsi.

McCain said “we urge the release of political prisoners,” referring to Brotherhood members who have been detained since Morsi’s ouster by the military on July 3.

“In democracy, you sit down and talk to each other,” Graham said, adding, “it is impossible to talk to somebody who is in jail.”

Egypt’s interim presidency denounced “foreign pressure” in a sign of its growing impatience with international mediations.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

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