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Egyptian army denies negotiating with Brotherhood

Egypt's armed forces say Muslim Brotherhood's claims that the army is reaching out to the group for talks are untrue

Ahram Online , Monday 15 Jul 2013
Defense Minister Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (Photo: Reuters)
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Senior Egyptian military officials have hit back at the Muslim Brotherhood over claims that the military is pursuing mediation with the Islamist group, as tension simmers between both sides following the overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi.

In a televised interview with Al Jazeera, Essam El-Erian, deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, claimed the army's interlocutor, former local development minister Ali Beshr, has been constantly attempting to forge talks between both sides.

"My phone does not stop ringing from the coup leaders, and I refuse to answer," El-Erian stated.

The Brotherhood, the group from which Morsi hails, rejects any negotiation with the military or recognition of its recently-unveiled roadmap until it bows to demands to reinstate the toppled democratically elected president, El-Erian said.

Morsi's Islamist backers have slammed the army's intervention to overthrow Morsi, after millions took to the streets demanding that he step down, as an illegitimate coup d'etat.

The military described El-Erian's claims as "lies," asserting that any such communication would be made public in advance.

In a late-night Sunday statement, the military said El-Erian's claims are part of a plot of lies and rumours being directed against the military.

"[This] is meant to mobilise [their] supporters, boost protesters' spirits and drive a wedge between the army and the people," read the statement.

Hundreds of thousands of pro-Morsi protesters have been encamped outside a northern Cairo mosque for over two weeks. Marches to support the ousted elected president are also regularly held in Cairo and other cities.

The army's statement went on to urge people to exercise caution in considering claims about the armed forces in light of what it described as smear campaigns targeting the military.

The Islamist group blasted on Saturday army-produced flyers calling on Morsi’s supporters to end their vigil, vowing to continue with street pressure until he regains power.

Military helicopters dropped the flyers on Friday while circling over the pro-Morsi sit-in at Nasr City’s Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque and Giza’s Nahda Square, scenes of Islamist rallies.

Pro-Morsi protesters turned out from across the country on Friday to join tens of thousands rallying at both sites to reiterate calls for Morsi's reinstatement

The Brotherhood has called for yet another round of mass rallies across Egypt on Monday in support of the toppled Islamist leader after Friday's rallies passed off peacefully.

In the worst violence in the past year, clashes at a military barracks in Cairo on 8 July, killed more than 51 people, mostly Morsi supporters. The Brotherhood said the army massacred peaceful protesters, while the latter said it was attacked by an armed terrorist group.

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