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Egypt Islamist figures set 3 demands in meeting with El-Sisi

Egypt's army Commander-in-Chief Abdel Fattah El-Sisi meets an Islamist delegation in hopes of overcoming political impasse

Ahram Online, Sunday 4 Aug 2013
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Salafist preacher Mohamed Hassaan (Photo: Ahram)
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Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian army Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi met with Islamist figures to discuss possible solutions to the current political impasse, Military Spokesman Ahmed Ali wrote on Saturday.

In the meeting El-Sisi asserted that all parties should reject violence and not "obstruct public facilities or affect people's interests," the spokesman detailed on his official Facebook page. El-Sisi also said that everyone should accept the roadmap the military enacted for a transition from the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi to a new government.

For his part, Salafist preacher Mohamed Hassan confirmed that he and several Islamist figures met with El-Sisi and members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to bring forward demands of the forces protesting the military's removal of Morsi.

The Salafist sheikh claims that El-Sisi promised not to forcibly disperse the sit-ins and to help set the scene for national reconciliation. Hassan claimed that in exchange El-Sisi demanded that leaders at Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda sit-ins tone down their speech and that the sit-ins remain peaceful and not spill out onto the streets.

Hassan said in his televised sermon in Al-Hossari Mosque on Saturday that they first met with members of the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, who have been maintaining the two large sit-ins in Cairo in protest over what they describe as the "military coup" that ousted Morsi on 3 July.

The alliance made three clear main demands for Hassan's delegation to bring to the military. Firstly, they demanded "an end to bloodshed," and that the sit-ins in Cairo not to be "forcibly dispersed." The group also called for serious national reconciliation that would start with tackling media "that is propagating hate speech and deepening divides in society." Lastly, they demanded that all those arrested since Morsi's ouster on 3 July be released and all charges against them dropped.  

According to Hassan, the five-hour meeting included Brotherhood consultative council member Abd El-Rahman El-Barr; leading member of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Ayman Abd El-Ghany; leading member of the Salafist Building and Development Party Safwat Abd El-Ghany and other alliance members.   

Other reports add head of Ansar Al-Sunna Association Gamal El-Marakby and leading member of the Salafist Call Mohamed Abd El-Salam as attendees.

Hassan says he and a number of other Islamist figures met with El-Sisi and members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and presented these demands. 

Secret negotiations have reportedly started between Egyptian state bodies and the Brotherhood to avoid an escalation in Egypt’s current political crisis.

Egypt's interior ministry renewed their promise to protect Morsi supporters who leave the ongoing sit-ins. Earlier in the week the Cabinet had delegated the interior ministry to proceed with all legal measures to confront acts of "terrorism and road-blocking."

Meanwhile, Vice President for Foreign Affairs Mohamed ElBaradei said he would gladly lead talks with Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood to prevent more bloodshed and is hopeful for a solution, as published in an interview with the Washington Post on Friday.

Morsi loyalists have been staging two large sit-ins at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo's Nasr City district and at Al-Nahda Square in Giza since 28 June. Clashes between Morsi's supporters and his opponents or security forces have left about 200 dead and hundreds injured in July.

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