Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Egypt views recent U.S. congressional visit as duplicitous

A bipartisan delegation has received harsh criticism as they met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak before meeting a group of legislators which included representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, The Associated Press reported Sunday. The meeting with Brotherhood members is seen by Cairo as a contradiction of U.S. policy, as the Mubarak administration alleges that the U.S. chose to meet with the banned group despite its barring other similarly banned groups like Hamas from meeting directly with U.S. representatives.

“The United States says that it doesn't establish relations with a banned group, whether in Egypt or outside Egypt. The U.S. says it is meeting with the Brotherhood as Parliament members, but doesn't make the same distinction and refuses to talk with Hamas, who is heading the Palestinian government and is occupying the prime minister's seat,” said Mubarak's spokesman Suleiman Awaad. Hamas was overwhelmingly elected into power in 2006, but has been denied any meetings with a U.S. delegation due to its stance on military action in response to Israeli occupation.

Brotherhood member Mohammed Saad el-Katatni offered a rebuttal to the criticism of the U.S. envoy. “We met with the delegation for more than an hour and we discussed the American policy in the Middle East: Palestine, Iraq and Iran's nuclear issue. The talks didn't address internal Egyptian issues or political reform,” el-Katatni said.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been banned from Egyptian politics since 1954; however, group members have managed to win seats running as independents. The Egyptian government is quite set on ensuring that the Brotherhood remains a minority voice in government with the introduction of several constitutional amendments that will create additional obstacles for any opposition to Mubarak’s government.

For the full article, click here.

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