14 December 2013

Egypt: Deputy PM Pushes for Reconcilation With Brotherhood

Egypt's Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa al-Din said there are four conditions for reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, in an interview with a local newspaper published Saturday.

"Abandoning violence, not being involved in crimes against Egyptians, respecting the law and maintaining that political parties work in accordance with the transitional roadmap," Baha al-Din told the state-owned daily Akhbar newspaper.

The transitional roadmap, set forth by Egypt's Defence Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi following the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July after mass protests against his rule, mandates the passing of an amended constitution that would be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections.

Bahaa al-Din said that seeking a political resolution in parallel with security measures is important to bring harmony back to society.

"Some have misunderstood my vision about reconciliation and some deliberately misinterpreted it in order to stifle the idea from the beginning."

He said he did not underestimate the crimes against Egyptian security personnel, in reference to the almost daily attacks in Sinai, adding that he appreciated the sacrifices of the army and police, but the problem should not be tackled from a security aspect alone.

"I declined a position in Hisham Kandil's cabinet as he belonged to the Brotherhood, I contributed to founding a political party [Egyptian Social Democratic Party] that countered their policies," Bahaa al-Din said, stressing that he never concluded a secret deal with them, in response to accusations of collaborating with them.

He said that he still opposed the protest law, enacted in late November, which largely restricts the right to peaceful assembly, adding that Egyptians would no longer accept any form of oppressive behavior by the government.

Bahaa al-Din said that 95 percent of his work revolves around economy and international cooperation, revealing that Egypt signed agreements worth hundreds of millions of dollars with the European Union and international organizations.

The deputy prime minister is scheduled to visit Luxemburg this week to sign a new agreement worth about € 250 billion with the European Investment Bank to fund several projects in different fields.

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