Muslim Brotherhood to U.S.: Stop Backing Israel and We'll Talk
The radical Islamic group Muslim Brotherhood is ready to speak with the United States but is conditioning talks on America’s support for Israel.
On Saturday, a spokesman for the group said it was prepared to talk with the U.S. He was responding to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks late last week. Clinton had said the Obama administration wants to open a dialog with the group.
“We believe, given the changing political landscape in Egypt, that it is in the interests of the United States to engage with all parties that are peaceful and committed to nonviolence, that intend to compete for the parliament and the presidency,” she told reporters in Budapest, Hungary, adding: “We welcome, therefore, dialogue with those Muslim Brotherhood members who wish to talk with us.”
Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan reportedly responded in an e-mailed statement, and was quoted by Bloomberg News as having said: “We are ready for dialogue with the U.S. administration, if it so decides, within a framework of mutual respect.”
Ghozlan added, however, that his group “hopes that the U.S. administration has revised its previous policies and decided to side with the rights of the people and their demands.”
He also made sure to mention Israel, saying the U.S. should “stop supporting the corrupt and tyrannical regimes, backing the Zionist occupation and using double standards.”
Ghozlan’s statement also said that “no dialogue” has taken place so far between the Muslim Brotherhood and the U.S., but added that there had been “contact” with the U.S. embassy in Cairo in the past.
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood, joined by allied Hamas fighters from Gaza, were at the fore of some of the most violent protests during the demonstrations in Egypt that resulted in the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.
The group later created a broad super-coalition of opposition parties in hopes of taking Egypt's next government by storm.
The group’s leaders have publicly stated they would implement Muslim sharia law in Egypt should they take office.