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Sisi: Reconciliation with Brotherhood decision for the state not me alone

Ahram Online , Thursday 27 Oct 2016
Sisi
Photo: Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (Ahram)
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Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood is not solely his decision, adding that he had provided the group with chances during the days before their ouster from power.

"I cannot make a decision on reconciliation by myself, it's the decision of the state," the president told a seminar during the second day of a national youth conference at the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh.

He added that he was the one who "provided them [the Brotherhood] with the opportunity on 3 July," referring to the day former president Mohamed Morsi was removed from power.

Morsi was overthrown on 3 July following massive nationwide protests against his one-year rule, which was marked by economic hardships and political polarisation. El-Sisi, who was then army chief, announced a roadmap to democracy on the day in an address broadcast on TV, flanked by major political and youth leaders and senior religious clerics. 

The roadmap was agreed upon by forces across the country's political spectrum. The Muslim Brotherhood was designated a terrorist group by the cabinet later in 2013.

"The statement announced [at the time] was very balanced," El-Sisi told Wednesday's seminar.

"The statement called for a new political round, for a new start, and the people would give their say. If you got 50 percent of votes and later get 25 percent, accept it and be with us," he said.

He added that he does not call on this segment of society to change their ideology but to rather to "exercise [their] ideas without destroying the country."

The Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition group for decades, was blacklisted as a "terrorist group" in December 2013. Many of the upper echelons are in jail and facing trials over violence-related charges. 

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