Heikal reveals minutes of Brotherhood meeting

Ahram Online , Thursday 19 Sep 2013

Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, who supported president Morsi's ouster, met with Amr Darrag and Mohamed Bishr and urged them to engage in dialogue

Prominent Egyptian journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal (Photo: Ahram)

Prominent Egyptian journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal revealed on Thursday details of his meeting with senior Muslim Brotherhood figures Amr Darrag and Mohamed Bishr on Tuesday.

Heikal, a confidant of several Egyptian leaders including former president Gamal Abdel-Nasser, continues to be influential with decision-makers in the current post-Mohamed Morsi interim administration.

During an interview with the privately-owned CBC television channel, Heikal said that the meeting came after a phone call he received from Bishr on Sunday.

"I told Bishr that discussion could not take place on the phone, and accordingly I invited them for a meeting on Tuesday morning," he said.

During the phone call, Darrag refuted accusations made earlier by the prominent journalist that loyalists of the Muslim Brotherhood torched his rural residence.

Heikal stated that Bishr transferred a "message of praise" from his "dear friend" Ahmed Mekki, minister of justice during Morsi's year-long presidency, along with a "message of blame" from Morsi-era premier Hisham Qandil due to Heikal's comments on the former prime minister’s visit to his house.  

"Bishr started to talk about the burning of my house in Berkash and denied the Brotherhood's responsibility for the act. Bishr also expressed the Brotherhood's willingness to participate in a probe to help find the real perpetrators of the crime,” noted Heikal.

Heikal's residence, which contains critical archival material, was set on fire during nationwide violence that erupted following the ouster of Morsi in early July. Investigations are ongoing concerning the incident.

The well-known writer said he "welcomed" listening to the Brotherhood leaders’ views on the political situation.

Heikal urged the Brotherhood leaders to recognise the “30 June revolution,” referring to the date of nationwide mass protests against Morsi that led to his removal.

He also said that the two Islamist leaders showed readiness to participate in the presidential polls that will follow parliamentary elections.

"I asked both Bishr and Darrag not to use the word coup in order to avoid disagreement; we also spoke about ongoing violence and they denied their group took part in it."

Heikal said he could possibly play a role in launching a "societal dialogue" with the Muslim Brotherhood.

"The movement has awakened from a shock and they are now attempting to evaluate their losses,” he said.

Heikal advised the Brotherhood figures to communicate with the government and society because the "country should move on without excluding anyone.”

"The Brotherhood should keep all doors open,” he advised the Islamists.

Darrag, former minister of planning and international cooperation under president Morsi, told the Freedom and Justice Party’s website on Wednesday that the meeting aimed to exchange perspectives on the current situation, adding that no other possibilities for dialogue with official bodies were discussed.

“Heikal emphasised [in the meeting] he was not representing any other party," Darrag said.

Darrag confirmed that the stance of the pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy remains unchanged regarding the ouster of the former president, adding that the group will not take part in any resolutions that “are not based on legitimacy.”

In May, two months before the ouster of Morsi, Heikal had told CBC: "The countdown has begun for the exit of the Brotherhood from Egypt's political scene.” He added that the Brotherhood has resorted to the use of force in an attempt to offset decreasing political power.

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