Egyptian presidency says talks underway with Brotherhoods

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Egypt’s presidency spokesman Ahmad al-Muslimani said negotiations were underway with the Muslim Brotherhood, adding that the Islamist group can take part in new elections.

The military ousted elected Islamist President Mohammad Mursi on Wednesday, sparking widespread protests among his Brotherhood followers. The military says it has a political roadmap to guide the country to new elections, but has yet to set a date.

“We extend our hand to everyone, everyone is a part of this nation,” the spokesman told reporters. “The Muslim Brotherhood has plenty of opportunities to run for all elections including the coming presidential elections or the ones to follow.”

Meanwhile, Muslimani said liberal leader Mohamed ElBaradei has not been officially appointed prime minister, after several official sources said the former U.N. nuclear watchdog chief had been named Prime Minister.

“Interim president Adly Mansour met today with Dr. ElBaradei but so far there has been no official appointment,” presidential advisor Ahmed al-Muslimani told reporters.”

He added, however, that ElBaradei was “the logical choice” among a list of names being considered in the wake the military’s ouster on Wednesday of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi.

Reports have surfaced that the Islamist Salafist Noor party rejected the choice of ElBaradei as prime minister.

Musilamani, told reporters on Saturday that consultations were continuing, denying that the appointment of the Nobel Peace laureate was ever certain.

Reporters gathered at the presidential palace were ushered in to a room where they were told by official to wait for the president who would arrive shortly to announce ElBaradei’s appointment.

A senior opposition official, Munir Fakhry Abdelnur, told The Associated Press that the reversal was because the ultraconservative Salafi el-Nour party objected to ElBardei’s appointment and mediation was underway.

The Nour Party, Egypt’s second biggest Islamist force, said it opposed ElBaradei and threatened to withdraw its support for the military-backed overthrow of President Mursi on Wednesday, which was the trigger for the bloody unrest.

A youth activist who met interim head of state Adli Mansour said the two issues were linked.

Losing Nour’s backing would significantly weaken the position of the military, removing any Islamist support from the transition process, fiercely opposed by Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Generals said they had intervened in response to huge popular demonstrations calling for Mursi to resign.

Raising the risk of further clashes, Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, the dominant Islamist force in the Arab world’s most populous nation, called for more protests on Sunday.

Muslimani said talks were underway with the Muslim Brotherhood’s youth about their role in the future of Egypt.

At least 35 people died in violence on Friday and Saturday, as pro- and anti-Mursi demonstrators fought running street battles in Cairo, Alexandria and beyond in violence that Egypt’s powerful army was barely able to contain.

Tens of thousands of Brotherhood supporters took to the streets to protest against what they called a military coup, and clashes between them, security forces and anti-Mursi protesters left more than 30 people dead.

Within minutes of the news that ElBaradei would be named, a senior Brotherhood official said that the Islamist movement would reject his candidacy and any other measures implemented by the army-backed administration.

He described ElBaradei as “Washington’s choice,” a reference to suspicions among Brotherhood members of U.S. complicity in Mursi’s overthrow.

The Nour Party, which had endorsed the military’s road map for a transitional phase leading to fresh elections, followed.

(With AFP, AP, Reuters)

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