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Sunday, Aug 14, 2022

Sisi excludes Muslim Brotherhood from national dialogue, sees ‘no common ground’

Sisi excludes Muslim Brotherhood from national dialogue, sees ‘no common ground’

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"We launched the national dialogue for all thinkers, unions, intellectuals and political forces, with the exception of only one faction. People can ask why are we making this one exception and why aren’t all people with us (as part of this dialogue)?" Sisi asked.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced on Sunday evening, that the first national dialogue of his era will include "everyone" except for "one faction", refererring to the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

He said the Islamist organisation had rejected a proposal in July 2013 to hold early presidential elections that would have allowed Egyptians to express themselves through the ballot box.

Sisi’s remarks came during an interview he gave on the anniversary of the July 3, 2013 events when Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohammed Morsi was toppled after an army-backed uprising. Sisi was then defence minister.

The Muslim Brotherhood is now a banned group.

"We have launched the national dialogue for all thinkers, unions, intellectuals and political forces, with the exception of only one faction," Sisi said.

"People can ask why are we making this one exception and why aren’t all people with us (as part of this dialogue)?" he asked.

Referring to the Brotherhood, Sisi replied, "Because on July 3 (2013) the last thing I did, I proposed to them a vision by which we would overcome our crisis through early presidential elections and give the people a chance to express their views."

Recalling what he told Brotherhood leaders at the time, Sisi said, "You said that you enjoyed support and that it was a conspiracy (to bring out street demonstrators against Morsi). "Ok, let us uncover this conspiracy and hold early presidential elections."

He continued that he told the Brotherhood that if the people chose them, they would return to rule. But they rejected the offer.

He stressed that, based on the Brotherhood’s refusal and subsequent events, including the bloodshed and killings that followed, "the common ground that could unite us within dialogue and discussion does not exist."

The Egyptian News Agency MENA quoted Sisi as saying the "the aim of launching the national dialogue is to bring together all thinkers, intellectuals, unions and political forces, except for one faction." He did not identify the faction to which he was referring, but local media explained that he was alluding to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood usually denies involvement in acts of violence and killings, but most of its leaders, cadres and affiliates are being tried on charges related to "terrorism and incitement to commit acts of violence", with many members of the group still active outside the country.

Sisi did not specify the topics of the expected national dialogue and whether this dialogue will be purely political or if it is to include discussion of economic and social issues.

The National Youth Academy, which is affiliated with the Egyptian presidency, has sent out invitations during the past few days to Egyptian political parties and public figures that are active in a range of fields.

MENA reported on Sunday that the first session of the national dialogue will be held next Tuesday, at the level of the Board of Trustees, about three months after Sisi called for a dialogue, which will be the first since he came to power in 2014.
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