CAIRO – Egypt’s military-backed interim leadership proclaimed Wednesday that a crackdown against two protest sites is inevitable, saying that nearly two weeks of foreign diplomatic efforts to peacefully resolve its standoff with the Muslim Brotherhood have failed.

The government’s statements strongly suggested that Egypt’s sharp polarization may spiral into even more bloodshed as thousands of supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, a longtime Brotherhood figure, camp out at two main Cairo intersections and hold daily protests outside security buildings.

At stake is stability in the Arab world’s most populous country. Already more than 250 people have been killed in violence since the military ousted Morsi last month, including at least 130 Brotherhood supporters in two major clashes between security forces and backers of the deposed president.

“The decision agreed on by all to clear the sit-ins is final and irreversible,” Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said on state television, reading a statement issued by the Egyptian Cabinet.

In response, top Muslim Brotherhood figure Mohammed el-Beltagy said the protesters are determined to keep up the sit-ins.

“What we care about is for there to be clear talks about our position against the military coup and the importance of returning legitimacy,” el-Beltagy told The Associated Press at the main protest site in the capital’s Nasr City neighborhood.

He said the Cabinet’s statement makes “clear that they lack vision with regard to the political scene.”

A joint statement released late Wednesday by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.