July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said it was prepared to talk with the U.S. after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said America is “re-engaging” with the group in an effort to promote democratic change in the Mideast nation.
“We are ready for dialogue with the U.S. administration, if it so decides, within a framework of mutual respect,” Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan said in an e-mailed statement today. “The Muslim Brotherhood hopes that the U.S. administration has revised its previous policies and decided to side with the rights of the people and their demands and to stop supporting the corrupt and tyrannical regimes, backing the Zionist occupation and using double standards.”
The statement said “no dialogue” has taken place between the group and the U.S., though there had been a “contact” with the U.S. embassy in Cairo in the past.
The U.S. is loosening the criteria for interaction with the Brotherhood, allowing diplomats to deal directly with low-level officials of the organization, Clinton said on June 30 in Budapest. That marks a shift away from a previous policy that restricted U.S. officials to communicating with members of the Brotherhood who also sit in parliament.
“This is not a new policy, it is one that we are re- engaging in because of upcoming elections,” Clinton said in Budapest. “But there will be certain expectations set and certain messages delivered, and we hope that the move toward democracy that is happening in Egypt will actually result in an inclusive, participatory political system.”
Egypt is preparing for September elections after a popular uprising forced President Hosni Mubarak to resign in February. In the interim, the country is being run by a military council.
Clinton’s comments reflected a recognition the Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest political organization, will play a significant role in politics. The U.S. will continue to support democratic principles, especially a commitment to minority rights and the full inclusion of women, Clinton said.
The Brotherhood renounced terrorism as a means of bringing about political change and isn’t considered a terrorist group by the U.S. It is viewed with suspicion by Israel and its supporters in the U.S., including some members of Congress.
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