Egypt VP ElBaradei highlights 'possible safe exit' for Morsi, Brotherhood

Ahram Online , Saturday 3 Aug 2013

Interim VP Mohamed ElBaradei says he would gladly lead talks with Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, to end ongoing stalemate and prevent more bloodshed

Mohamed ElBaradei (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei said a safe exit for all the Muslim Brotherhood leaders is "on the table," including deposed president Mohamed Morsi.

His comments, in an interview with the Washington Post, were published on Friday, as Morsi supporters hold fresh rallies in Cairo in defiance of a government order to disband their sit-in protests.

The ex-International Atomic Energy Agency head stressed that agreements could still be reached with the Islamic group and Co. after ending violence in the country.

"There are charges levied against him. I think once we get the violence down and start a dialogue, a lot of these things could be checked," ElBaradei said.

"We aren't going to intervene with a court order, but there is a lot of room to see how we deal with possibly a safe exit for all the Muslim Brotherhood leadership who are not really involved in serious crimes."

A week ago, a top Egyptian court ordered the detention of Morsi for 15 days pending investigations into his suspected collaboration with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, an ideological offshoot of the Brotherhood.

Morsi has been held incommunicado ever since his overthrow on 3 July, which was part of the armed forces' plan for Egypt following nationwide mass protests against the former elected president.

"Morsi is in a place to protect him," ElBaradei said, commenting on Morsi's whereabouts and the possibility of granting him a pardon. "If they (charges) are not very serious, I would like to see a possible pardon as a part of a grand package because the fate of the country is much more important."

"There hasn't been an organised dialogue between them (Brotherhood leaders) and the government. There's a lot at the civil-society level, but once the violence is out of the way, we’d like to get some dialogue," ElBaradei added.

ElBaradei, who is widely unpopular among the Brotherhood leadership and its allies, said he is willing to lead such negotiations.

"I'd be happy to do it myself. I talked to the North Koreans – I should be able to talk to the Muslim Brotherhood. I believe in dialogue. That’s the only way to move forward," he stressed.

Since Morsi's ouster, tens of thousands of his supporters have been calling for his reinstatement by staging protests across the country.

Morsi's supporters and opponents have frequently faced off since his overthrow, leading to over 200 dead and hundreds injured in the past few weeks.

Both camps have used firearms against one other, among other weapons, on numerous occasions.

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