Officials call to include Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt transition

Egyptian ambassador to US, ElBaradei say Brotherhood must join democratic process; Tawfik denies military coup.

July 7, 2013 18:36
2 minute read.
A member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of Mohamed Morsi.

Muslim Brotherhood hold poster of Morsi July 4 2013 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Louafi Larbi)

WASHINGTON - Egypt's ambassador to Washington said Sunday there had not been a military coup in his country but the army needed to step in to keep violence on the street from spiraling out of control.

Ambassador Mohamed Tawfik told ABC's "This Week" that Egypt's powerful military moved to oust President Mohamed Morsi last week after his response to massive street protests was to incite violence among his supporters.

Tawfik said he did not believe Egypt was in danger of losing $1.5 billion it receives annually in American aid, which by law should be cut off if a country's military ousts a democratically elected leader.

"Egypt has not undergone a military coup. And it is certainly not run by the military," Tawfik said.

He said there was an interim president in place and the main focus of his discussions with US officials was about the future: restoring peace and a democratic process.

"The message has to get across to the leaders of Muslim Brotherhood: We do not need more violence in Egypt," he said.

Morsi has not acted as president for all Egyptians, said Tawfik who was himself appointed by Morsi in September.

With more than 15 million people in the streets, Morsi could have begun a dialogue with the protesters but instead incited his supporters to violence, Tawfik said. He said the military moved in after more than 20 people had been killed.

"If you start inciting your followers to violence, if you start whipping up religious fervor, if you start talking about jihad, about martyrdom, then many, many people are going to lose their lives," he said. "And that is against the law." Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement called for further protests on Sunday after dozens of people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded on Friday in clashes between his supporters, opponents and the military.

"My advice to the Muslim Brotherhood is they need to acknowledge the mistakes that they made and they need to join the process," the ambassador said. "There is no room for violence."

Echoing the Egyptian ambassador, liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei on Sunday said the members of the Muslim Brotherhood camp of ousted president Mohamed Morsi should be included in the democratic process.

Speaking to German news weekly Der Spiegel, ElBaradei said he is calling for "inclusion of the Brotherhood in the democratisation process," AFP reported.

"No one should be taken to court without a convincing reason. Former president Morsi must be treated with dignity," he added, according to AFP.

ElBaradei said he expected new elections would be called within one year, adding that he would accept another Muslim Brotherhood victory if it respected democratic principles.

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