Egypt accuses Brotherhood of rejecting reconciliation

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Egypt said on Wednesday it was committed to reconciliation and accused the Muslim Brotherhood, whose leaders are due to appear in court next week, of undermining efforts to resolve political turmoil.

“The government realizes from its side the importance of reconciliation,” Reuters quoted Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa el-Din as saying in a statement.

“Those who are until now rejecting or stalling any understandings aimed at achieving reconciliation and stability for the Egyptian people are the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Bahaa el-Din added.

President Mohammed Mursi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood movement, was toppled in July. Following his ouster security forces killed hundreds of the Brotherhood’s members and jailed thousands, including Mursi and many other senior leaders.

Mursi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader, is due to appear in court on Monday along with 14 other senior Muslim Brotherhood figures on charges of inciting violence.

Senior Brotherhood figure detained

On Wednesday, Egyptian authorities detained senior Muslim Brotherhood figure Essam al-Erian, one of the last few leaders of the Islamist movement to have escaped a security crackdown, Agence France-Presse reported the interior ministry as saying.

Security forces arrested Erian, deputy leader of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, in the early hours of Wednesday at an apartment in east Cairo where he had been in hiding.

Pictures of Erian circulating on social media, apparently taken during his arrest, showed him smiling in defiance.

Meanwhile, Bahaa el-Din said the Brotherhood must decide which course it will take in Egypt.

“It is up to the Muslim Brotherhood to decide whether it really wants to stay in the Egyptian political and social arena or if it will continue its acts of social attrition,” he said, referring to protests staged by the group and its supporters.

Bahaa el-Din said security measures were essential, but must be accompanied by a political framework to stabilize Egypt.

The deputy prime minister has tried to find a way out of Egypt’s political crisis since he put a proposal to the cabinet in August that called for an immediate end to the state of emergency, political participation for all parties and guarantees of human rights, including free assembly.

(With AFP and Reuters)