Brotherhood meeting was no secret to Moussa: Nour replies

Ahram Online, Saturday 8 Jun 2013

Facing criticism for dialoguing with ruling Brotherhood figures ahead of major protests, liberal politician Ayman Nour retorts against Moussa's accusations over a secret meeting

ayman nour
Ayman Nour (Photo: Reuters)

Liberal political figure and head of the Ghad Party, Ayman Nour denies accusations he purposefully leaked news of what was supposed to be a secret meeting with Muslim Brotherhood strongman Khairat El-Shater and furthermore says the meeting wasn't all his idea.

The former head of the Arab League and now head of the Conference Party was the other major figure at the meeting and expressed astonishment that media was present and that they had made the meeting public.

Nour responded to the accusation that he, too, was surprised to find a reporter at his home's entrance where the meeting was held, but argued that the reporter's presence was made clear to the participants.

With regards to whose initiative it was: "Both [Nour and Moussa] agreed that the country’s current situation is critical and that it was necessary to present demands to policymakers and point out to them the deteriorating state of political and daily affairs...the agreement was that these issues will be presented to the organisation [Muslim Brotherhood] and the ruling [Freedom and Justice] party for their ability to influence policymaking" the statement reads.

Accordingly, Nour’s statement continued, the Brotherhood deputy Supreme Guide El-Shater, together with Head of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Saad El-Katatni were invited. El-Katatni could not make it due to an urgent appointment with the Cabinet, Nour detailed.

Nour’s defence comes amidst much criticism directed at Moussa from opposition for seeking dialogue with political rivals only weeks before mass demonstrations planned against President Mohamed Morsi, who hails from Brotherhood ranks.

Moussa’s party members made statements hinting it was all planned by Nour, whose stance to continue dialoguing with the ruling party has already cost him much in terms of popularity among opposition.

At the meeting, the statement reveals, they discussed plans for 30 June - symbolically chosen for protests against Morsi on the year anniversary of his taking the presidential seat - highlighting the importance of maintaining peace.

Moussa and Nour, according to the statement, proposed to El-Shater the creation of a national unity government while Moussa also insisted on early presidential elections.

"El-Shater listened with an open mind, despite the fact that a disagreement was clear regarding early presidential elections and the right timing for the formation of a national unity government" continued the statement, which noted that nothing concrete was agreed upon.

"Those who defended Amr Moussa by spreading lies should have instead defended his correct point of view, which upholds the importance of dialogue between the different factions in times of hardship," concluded the statement.

Moussa’s decision to meet with the Brotherhood’s most influential figure El-Shater was seen by many as a split from the National Salvation Front’s refusal to dialogue until concessions are made - an accusation denied by the opposition figure.

The NSF, an opposition umbrella group, had presented several main demands, including the formation of a national unity government and the formation of a committee to amend controversial articles of the recently-passed constitution.

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