World Bulletin / News Desk
Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has ruled out the possibility of reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement from which ousted president Mohamed Morsi hails.
"Reconciliation with whom?" Mahlab asked in an interview with Russia Today's Arabic-language news channel late on Wednesday.
"I don't think there can be any reconciliation with those who killed people and blew things up," he said.
There has been talk in recent days about possible reconciliation between the current authorities and the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been the target of a harsh government crackdown since last year's ouster of Morsi – Egypt's first freely-elected president – by the army.
In the year since, the Brotherhood has led opposition to Egypt's army-backed authorities, which has landed most of its leaders and supporters in jail on incitement-to- violence charges – charges they say are politically driven.
Mahlab, however, said his government could not mend fences with what he described as a "terrorist" group.
"I think we have to fight this terrorist organization," he said during the interview.
Last December, the government dubbed the Brotherhood a "terrorist group" following a bombing outside a Nile Delta security headquarters.
The Brotherhood, for its part, condemned the attack and denied any involvement.
Pro-Morsi bloc denies talks with Egypt govt
The main support bloc of ousted president Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday denied reports that it was mulling reconciliation with Egypt's army-backed authorities.
"We haven't received any proposals for reconciliation or negotiation for the time being," Khaled Said, spokesman for the pro-Morsi National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, told Anadolu Agency by phone.
"And we don't expect any offers given the regime's ongoing suppression of demonstrations and dissolution of political parties," he said.
The recent release of three leading Islamist figures – including two from Morsi's embattled Muslim Brotherhood group – has prompted speculation that the Egyptian government was mulling possible détente with the group following a relentless yearlong crackdown on Morsi supporters.
"These are attempts to divide the revolutionaries and force some of them to accept the status quo," Said said in reference to the three leaders' release.
"The [leaders'] release is the least they deserve after months of injustice, knowing the charges against them are politically-motivated," he added.
Said went on to say, however, that the group would not dismiss government-proposed reconciliation initiatives, but asserted: "It is up to the people to accept or reject reconciliation, depending on the terms of the offer."
For his part, lawyer Mohamed al-Damati, member of the defense team representing jailed Brotherhood members and supporters, said he had no reason to believe there were any political reasons for the recent release of senior Brotherhood figures Helmi al-Gazzar and Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud, along with pro-Islamist ex-MP Mohamed al-Omda.
"Some prosecutors see no need for keeping Brotherhood supporters in detention, knowing that the charges levied against them are fabricated and have no evidence to support them," al-Damati said, noting that the prosecutor-general's office had since filed an appeal against the trio's release.
Two days ago, the pro-Morsi bloc rejected a reconciliation initiative tabled by al-Omda, who submitted the proposal to both the Brotherhood and the presidency.
The initiative calls for a return to the "democratic track" and the removal of all state restrictions on the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist movements proscribed in the wake of Morsi's ouster last year.
Al-Omda's overture, however, would also allow President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi – widely seen as the architect of Morsi's ouster – to continue his four-year term, which would be considered a "transitional" period during which the military and the Brotherhood would be expected to agree on a peaceful course of cooperation.
The initiative, however, was vehemently rejected by pro-Morsi forces. They hold al-Sisi responsible for staging a military coup against an elected leader and carrying out a deadly crackdown on the now-outlawed Brotherhood, hundreds of supporters of which have been killed – and thousands detained – over the past year.Last Mod: 04 Eylül 2014, 09:37