And the Obama administration wonders why most Egyptians think the U.S. is taking the Muslim Brotherhood’s side.

Via ABC News:

The second-most senior U.S. diplomat has met with the¬†imprisoned deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to a senior official, a sign that the United States is ramping up its attempts to mediate Egypt’s political crisis.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns traveled late Sunday night to the notorious Tora Prison, a jail in the middle of Cairo that has housed some of Egypt’s most famous prisoners, to meet with Khairat el-Shater, the official said.

The Brotherhood had claimed until now that El-Shater refused to meet.

El-Shater, one of the country’s wealthiest businessmen, is highly influential within the Brotherhood and the organization’s main financial backer. After the military overthrew the government last month, el-Shater was detained along with hundreds of Brotherhood supporters as part of the military’s crackdown on the Islamist group.

The meeting, which took place in the same prison where former President Hosni Mubarak is serving out a life sentence, lasted 90 minutes and, while there were no breakthroughs, it was “productive,” according to the senior official.

The United States is furiously mediating between the military and Brotherhood, trying to help Egypt stabilize after the military takeover a month ago. Egypt has long been the United States’ most important Arab ally, and U.S. officials are eager to see the military avoid any steps that could lead to civil war.

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