Brotherhood Propose New Talks with Government | Mansour Makes First Public Address

July 18, 2013 . By
Gehad El-Haddad | AFP/STR
Gehad El-Haddad | AFP/STR

Gehad el-Haddad, a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, announced that the Brotherhood had proposed new talks with the interim government using European Union envoy Bernardino Leon as an intermediary. Leon described the proposal as being in its early stages and noted that “[both sides are] in very firm positions…but at the same time we think that they are not completely closed to the possibility of re-engaging.” The distance between the sides was confirmed later in the evening, as an interview with Haddad recorded him suggesting that “the Brotherhood would be willing to negotiate any political issue” only if the military first reinstated Mohamed Morsi as President of Egypt, a demand that the interim authorities have completely rejected.

In a statement on Thursday, the African Union advised the interim government to include Islamists in government, noting potential danger arising from both their absence in the cabinet and the continuing sit-ins in opposition to the government. The Islamist Nour Party, which initially backed the ouster of Morsi, called for finding “a way forward” with the Brotherhood, though there was no direct call for their inclusion in government. According to Nour Party spokesman Nader Bakkar, “increasing pressure on the Muslim Brotherhood…will lead to extremely bad results.” Potentially foreshadowing future government actions, interim President Mansour promised to “fight a battle for security until the end” in his first public address since taking office.

The National Salvation Front postponed a meeting that was to be held July 18 amid calls from the Wafd Party for the NSF to disband. Wafd Party spokesman Abdallah El-Moghazy stated that the NSF should be dismantled as “it has achieved its goals,” noting that “[the NSF] consists of various political parties [that differ] in their political ideologies and programs.” Furthermore, El-Moghazy added that the NSF should be dismantled so as to preserve “the historical role of the NSF after the January 25 Revolution.”

The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy released an apology to residents around Raba’a al-Adaweya for any damage or disturbances experienced as a result of the pro-Morsi sit-in. The Alliance also announced that their supporters were willing to offer medical services and maintenance work to residents of the area. These steps appeared to be taken in response to demands from area residents for the sit-in to be more effectively managed as it progressed through its third week.

In the ongoing saga surrounding US aid to Egypt, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives proposed that the amount of military aid given to Egypt remain at $1.3 billion for next year, conditioned on whether interim government “[demonstrates] a commitment to a pluralistic and inclusive democracy” The proposed bill also specifies that the Egyptian government would need to crack down on smuggling to Gaza and terrorism. Notably, the bill does not include the $250 million in broader economic assistance that the US has appropriated to Egypt in recent years, though the bill also does not actually prohibit such aid.