The Meeting between the head of the MB parliamentary bloc with the US Congress delegation raised many inquiries in both Egyptian and Western arenas around the nature of this dialogue and whether it is a shift in the Democrats’ policy towards the biggest opposition group in the Egyptian parliament and street.
Dr. Mohamed Saad El Katatny, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc, said in a statement to Ikhwanweb that his brief talk with the US Congress delegation during the ambassador’s dinner party, did not include domestic issues.
El Katatny pointed out that he took part in the meeting that included other leaders in the People’s Assembly with the US representatives in the morning of the same day, and he spoke about the US policies in the region, specially in Palestine and Iraq. During this meeting, el Katatny received an invitation from the US ambassador to attend a dinner party in the evening which he accepted.
El Katatny added:" The congressmen had more inquiries around the Palestinian file; they asked me why the Muslim Brotherhood supports Hamas although it is a terrorist organization; I responded by saying Hamas is a resistance movement and that Israel is using violence against civilians"
El Katatny explained to the Congress delegation that Hamas has been very flexible, specially after Mecca agreement during which Hamas agreed to Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and the return of the refugees. When the American delegation stated that the return of the refugees means the disappearance of Israel and asked where will they return, el Katatny answered "To the places from which they were deported"
El Katatny was clear to emphasize on the fact that he did not discuss any domestic issues with the American counterparts. The only time he spoke about a domestic issue came during the morning session in the People’s Assembly which was attended by Parliament Speaker Dr. Fathi Serour, when he [katatny]objected to the US defense of Dr. Ayman Nour while it was completely silent about sending several of MB leaders to military courts, in addition to not condemning the regime’s oppression of the opposition.
Asked whether there is a shift in the Democrats’ policy towards the Muslim Brotherhood, El Katatny said:" I do not think so, there is no shift for the time being; I am attending these meetings as an MP and head of the biggest opposition bloc in the Egyptian parliament; the Egyptian delegation included all political powers in this meeting"
When asked why the US Secretary of State met an Egyptian parliamentary delegation that included all powers in the parliament except the Muslim Brotherhood, El Katatny said There is definitely a clear differences between the Democrats and Condoleezza Rice who is a republican; this was obvious with the visit of the US House Speaker to Syria despite the White House objections"
El Katatny pointed out that there is a significant number of studies and research done in the US and worldwide which helped present the true moderate nature of the MB and its acceptance of pluralism and democracy.
When asked whether he met US politicians during his latest visit to Washington, El Katatny said:" my visit to Washington was to participate in an academic conference organized by Georgetown university; therefore, the conference included only researchers, not politicians; and we didn’t hold any meeting with any US politicians"
About the Muslim Brotherhood’s attitude towards holding a dialogue with the US administration, El Katatny said that the Muslim Brotherhood’s attitude towards the dialogue is clear; the group confirmed that it adopts the dialogue as an ideal means for understanding the other; the Muslim Brotherhood welcomes any serious dialogue with the US administration or any other side, but the Muslim Brotherhood has several reservations regarding the dialogue with the current US administration: the US administration’s attitude towards the Israeli occupation, the situation in Iraq and its support to Arab dictatorial regimes.
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