US President Donald Trump's administration is pushing to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, which would levy US sanctions against members of the international organisation, the White House said in a statement on Tuesday.
The White House has directed its diplomatic and national security officials to work on a plan to put economic sanctions on the Islamist group worldwide following a meeting between President Trump and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in Washington DC on 9 April.
Sisi asked Trump to make the designation, which Egypt has already done, in a private meeting during a visit to Washington on April 9, a senior US official was quoted as saying by Reuters.
After the meeting, Trump praised Sisi as a "great president".
Egypt designated the Brotherhood a terrorist group in late 2013 following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that “the president has consulted with his national security team and leaders in the region who share his concern, and this designation is working its way through the internal process.”
The Times' report also stated that Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo support the idea, but that the Pentagon, career national security staff, government lawyers, and diplomatic officials had legal and policy objections and wanted to find a more limited step that would satisfy the White House.
The proposed sanctions would include travel and economic sanctions on the group, its branches worldwide, its affiliated groups and its members.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Russia have designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.