The UK government has pledged to consult leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood while it conducts a review of the group's activities. It also hinted that the review is wider than previously thought.
“The Muslim Brotherhood's leaders will be consulted within the review,” a spokeswoman for British Prime Minister David Cameron told Ahram Online.
On Tuesday, Cameron commissioned an internal government review into the philosophy and activities of the Brotherhood and its impact on the UK's national interests at home and abroad.
The spokeswoman added that the Brotherhood has the right to be listened to. However, she didn't elaborate as to how the review team will consult the group's leadership.
The review is planned to be completed by July.
The spokeswoman confirmed that the review has no legal or judicial aspect and also has nothing to do with the annual assessment carried out by British anti-terrorism authorities.
British media suggested this week that Cameron's review comes as a result of pressure from Gulf states like Saudi Arabia, who asked him to reconsider the relation of his country with the Brotherhood, a number of whose leaders and supporters fled to London after the ousting of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in July.
However, Cameron's spokeswoman denied the allegations. “Within recent months, we've noticed that every country in the Middle East has treated the Muslim Brotherhood differently, so we need to understand the group,” she said.
One of the review's targets is for the UK government to “get a better handle of what the Brotherhood stands for, how they intend to achieve their aims and what that means for Britain," as Cameron said earlier this week.
The Brotherhood has since expressed its surprise at the British prime minister's ordering the review – which will look at the group's “track record both in and out of government, and its connections and alleged connections with extremism” – yet has expressed its readiness to cooperate with British authorities.
Cameron's spokeswoman reiterated that the UK government still sees the terrorism charges levied against the Brotherhood as “just allegations”.
The review team – led by the British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sir John Jenkins – will draw on analysis from the UK government's security agencies and posts in the Middle East, along with views from independent experts and Arab governments.
However, the spokeswoman revealed that the team will also consult the UK's international partners such as the United Sates and other European countries.