Muslim Brotherhood representative demands 'impartial mediators' for talks

Ahram Online, Saturday 19 Oct 2013

Mohamed Ali Bishr rejected a recent initiative to foster national dialogue between the interim government and the Muslim Brotherhood, claiming that the mediator is biased in favour of the government

Muslim Brotherhood figure Mohamed Ali Bishr

Muslim Brotherhood figure Mohamed Ali Bishr announced on Friday that talks recently mediated by Islamist figure Kamal Abu El-Magd would end, saying that the terms and conditions put forth were not sufficient to foster proper dialogue.

In an interview with the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party website, Bishr claimed that the conditions were biased in favour of one side, rather than encouraging cooperation between the two opposing views.

Islamist figure Abul-Magd had attempted to mediate between the Muslim Brotherhood movement of deposed president Mohamed Morsi and the country's interim government in an effort to end the current political deadlock. He proposed that Islamists acknowledge the interim "revolutionary authority" as a first step towards national dialogue.

During a visit to Cairo in early October, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton called for dialogue and urged the Brotherhood and the interim administration to take part in an inclusive political process, but neither side appeared willing to heed the call.

Abul-Magd's initiative was launched earlier this month and targeted the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, a Brotherhood group that has called for the reinstatement of ousted president Morsi. The initiative was initially welcomed by Islamists before they accused the mediator of prejudice towards the country's interim leaders.

Bishr explained that the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy had initially accepted mediation talks but this acceptance was premised on finding an unbiased mediator who would seek to find common ground between opposing camps.

Bishr rejected the conditions of recent talks earlier last week, stating that "accepting such conditions would bias one side over another, and amount to recognition of the coup, which is totally unacceptable."

The Brotherhood figure reiterated his willingness to participate in future mediation efforts from any "impartial party," adding that no names have been suggested yet.  

Since the ouster of Morsi on 3 July, interim authorities have imposed a transitional roadmap which suspended the 2012 constitution and promised parliamentary elections and a presidential vote by early next year.

Egypt has experienced significant political violence since Morsi's exit, with street fighting killing at least 1000 since.

Security forces have also cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood since the violent dispersal of pro-Morsi sit-ins on 14 August. Most of the group's leaders are currently in prison facing charges of inciting violence and the Brotherhood's assets have been frozen.

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