The Deputy Leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has refused to meet an international delegation in his prison cell to discuss possible solutions for the current political deadlock in Egypt. Khairat Al-Shater is reported to have told the delegation, which included US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, that the only legitimate interlocutor with mediators is President Mohammed Morsi. Other members of the delegation rebuffed by Al-Shater were Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Al-Atiyya, his UAE counterpart Abdullah Al-Nahyan and EU representative Bernardino Lion.
Commenting on the news, Esam Al-Arian of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Brotherhood, said: “There is only one person who legally and constitutionally represents Egyptians and all delegations have to speak to him because only one person holds the key to any solution. That person is Mohammed Morsi.” This view was supported by pro-Morsi protesters in Rabaa Al-Adawiyya Square.
An anonymous official of the Muslim Brotherhood told Turkey’s Anatolia News Agency that Al-Shater insisted that any discussions about the political issue have to be conducted with Morsi, “the only one authorised to do this”. With regards to the evacuation of the protesters from the square, the official said, “Such talks have to be held with the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy.”
In its own statement, the Brotherhood hinted that Al-Shater is being “mistreated” in prison. “He is guarded heavily,” said the spokesman, “and his family and lawyer cannot visit him.”
Reports in the media about the delegation’s attempt to visit the Muslim Brotherhood official were denied by several sources within the interim government.
William Burns started his round of meetings on Saturday on what is his third visit to the region in three weeks. He met deputy interim Prime Minister Mohamed ElBaradei, former Prime Minister Hisham Qandeel and Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.