Clinton Says US to Renew Contact With Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

Posted June 30th, 2011 at 10:30 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that the Obama administration will renew limited contact with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

The Islamist movement recently joined with 17 Egyptian political parties to establish what they call a pro-democracy platform for parliamentary elections scheduled for September. The coalition pledges to push for equality and democratic freedoms.

The Muslim Brotherhood is one of Egypt's most organized political movements and was banned under the former regime of ex-President Hosni Mubarak. Mr. Mubarak was ousted by a popular uprising in February.

Mrs. Clinton, speaking during a visit to Budapest, says it is in Washington's interests to deal with Egyptian parties committed to non-violent political participation.

The Reuters news agency quotes a Brotherhood spokesman as saying it would welcome contacts with the United States.

The overture comes the same week that saw violent confrontations between police and protesters in central Cairo, with more than a thousand people injured.

Witnesses say most of those injured in the protests that began late Tuesday and lasted into Wednesday suffered smoke inhalation from tear gas fired by police to disperse rioters who threw stones and burned tires.

Around 70 people were admitted to hospitals. The Egyptian interior ministry says at least 40 security personnel were among those hurt.

The unrest began when a group of people tried to enter a Cairo theater where a ceremony was being held to honor those killed in the uprising against Mr. Mubarak.

Security officials refused to let them in, saying they were not invited. A confrontation erupted when some in the group attempted to storm the building.