State Department Sits Down with Muslim Brotherhood
August 5, 2013 - 3:22 pm
The Muslim Brotherhood announced that it held a meeting with an American delegation on Saturday, including the U.S. ambassador reviled among the Tamarod movement for cozying up with the Islamists.
“At the invitation of the Assistant Secretary of State William Burns, and in the presence of the U.S. Ambassador in Egypt and the European Union special representative Bernardino León, a meeting with the Anti-Coup, Pro-Democracy National Alliance was held in the Four Seasons Hotel, Cairo, at 11AM on Saturday, August 3, 2013,” Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said on its official website.
“We strongly reject foreign interference in Egypt’s internal affairs, and at the same time, we welcome the international community’s announced respect for the principles of democracy and human rights and its renunciation of military coups and massacres,” the Brotherhood said.
Ambassador Anne Patterson’s image has been held up alongside President Obama’s by the secular demonstrators who ousted the Muslim Brotherhood from power as two deemed complicit in the Islamists’ reign.
The State Department released no information about such a meeting, but spokeswoman Marie Harf did confirm “we have the goal of helping the Egyptians get back to a democratically elected, inclusive government.”
Burns, along with León and the foreign ministers of the UAE and Qatar, visited detained deputy chief of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Khairat el-Shater on Sunday evening, Harf said.
“This visit was conducted in the context of ongoing diplomatic efforts to prevent further violence, calm tensions and facilitate an inclusive dialogue among Egyptians that can help the transition to a democratically elected civilian government,” she said. “I would also underscore that this meeting was done with the cooperation of the Egyptian authorities.”
She wouldn’t get into details of what was discussed, or confirm the report that el-Shater told Burns that he needed to talk to Morsi instead.
“The deputy secretary is making the same points that we’ve made repeatedly, that we all are encouraging the Egyptians to be part of an inclusive process, that includes the Muslim Brotherhood. And I’m sure those points will be made in the variety of other meetings he has on the ground as well,” Harf said. “As of right now, there are no plans for him to meet with Mohamed Morsi.”
“The message he’s sending is the message we’ve been saying all along, that there is an incentive for the Muslim Brotherhood to be a part of an inclusive process. And it’s best for the people of Egypt; it’s best for the process and for the Muslim Brotherhood to be a part of it going forward,” she added.
“I don’t have further details on their discussion, other than to say he’s continuing to make the point with them and everyone else about the necessity of an inclusive process.”