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Diplomat says US officials met with Muslim Brothers

CAIRO - US officials met members of the Muslim Brotherhood's political party, a US diplomat said, after Washington announced it would have direct contacts with Egypt's biggest Islamist group whose role has grown since US ally Hosni Mubarak was ousted.
Washington announced the plans in June, portraying such contacts as the continuation of an earlier policy. But analysts said it reflected a new approach to the way it dealt with a group which Mubarak banned from politics.The Brotherhood is one of Egypt's most popular and organized groups, with a broad grassroots network built up partly through social work even in Mubarak's era.
The contacts may unsettle Israel and its US backers. The Brotherhood renounced violence as a means to achieve political change in Egypt years ago. But groups like Hamas, which have not disavowed violence, look to the Brotherhood as a spiritual guide.
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