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Muslim Brotherhood denies contacts with Egyptian army

February 8, 2014 at 2:48 am

Muslim Brotherhood official Mohamed Bishr has denied that the movement has had any formal contacts with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in order to start a dialogue over the current deadlock in Egypt. Bishr said that SCAF members have tried several times to call him and have sent a number of mediators, including the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayyip, and other politicians and military leaders. They have all asked for talks with the Brotherhood to end the political crisis. “All requests,” he pointed out, “were refused.”

The former deputy supreme guide of the Brotherhood asserted that his group is not planning to engage in talks without preconditions being met. “The movement agrees about starting talks, but only after the reinstatement of Morsi and the Shura Council,” Bishr said. Only that, he insisted, provides constitutional legitimacy to the process. “Dialogue will be open to discuss all issues and demands, but only in the presence of Morsi.”

He added that calls to form a new government and early presidential elections would be discussed by the president with all political parties and the army. “The Muslim Brotherhood is ready to commit itself to the outcomes of such talks, but these are non-negotiable conditions.”

No comment has been received from SCAF, although the movement’s message has got through. “I think that the armed forces will study it and reply. If they do not accept these conditions, we are going to remain on the streets forever.”

Bishr was responding to claims in Britain’s Guardian newspaper that he had met SCAF leaders last week to discuss certain solutions for the crisis. According to the Guardian, he is not expecting more talks because the return of Morsi is a red line across which SCAF will not go.

The Brotherhood’s stance is shared with its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party. Deputy leader Isam Al-Aryan said that he has refused to accept calls from the leaders of the coup.

“We will not recognise the interim regime or negotiate until the will of the people has been restored,” Al-Aryan insisted. “We will not be bitten twice by the same insect.”

Speaking to Al Jazeera, the FJP official said that they cannot trust any democracy promised by the army, which sided with one group against another. “The army has broken its promise with the people, frozen their Constitution, dissolved their parliament and detained their president,” he said.