Brotherhood can play a role: El-Sisi

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi addresses delegates at an international security summit in Manama, Bahrain, in this Oct. 30, 2015 photo.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi addresses delegates at an international security summit in Manama, Bahrain, in this Oct. 30, 2015 photo.


Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi suggested the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood could again play a role in public life if Egyptians would welcome that, ahead of a visit to Britain criticized by rights campaigners.

El-Sisi will arrive in London on Wednesday and meet Prime Minister David Cameron to boost the countries’ ties.

In an interview with the BBC, El-Sisi signaled a possible softening of position toward the Muslim Brotherhood, which he has declared to be a terrorist group.

“The problem doesn’t lie with the government and it doesn’t lie with me. It lies with public opinion, with Egyptians. Egyptians are peaceful people and they don’t like violence. They reacted against the Muslim Brotherhood and are wary of them,” El-Sisi said in the TV interview, due to be broadcast in full on Thursday. “This country is big enough to accommodate all of us. They are part of Egypt and so the Egyptian people must decide what role they can play.”

Cameron’s spokeswoman has said “no issues will be off the table” when the two leaders meet on Thursday.

The Egyptian leader told the BBC efforts to improve democracy in Egypt were “a work in progress” which would take time, but his people now had the right to choose their leader.

“Now a president can only serve one or maximum two terms. Never again will Egyptians be ruled against their will,” he said.

“No one is oppressed in Egypt, but we are living through incredible times,” El-Sisi said. “Egypt doesn’t want to become like other countries in the region.”

Meanwhile, Daesh insisted it brought down a Russian plane that crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, providing no new details but challenging skeptics to prove otherwise.

In an audio statement posted on social media sites on Wednesday, Daesh said it would announce the details of the alleged attack when it chooses.

“We are under no obligation to explain how it came down,” Daesh said in the statement, posted a day after it released a video showing its fighters in Iraq celebrating the incident.

“Bring the wreckage and search it, bring your black boxes and analyze them, and tell us the results of your investigation,” a man said in the recording. “Prove that we didn’t bring it down, and how it came down. We will detail how it came down at the time of our choosing.”


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