Cairo: Egypt`s powerful Islamist movement,
the Muslim Brotherhood, said it is willing to hold talks with
the United States, taking up an offer of dialogue seen as an
implicit recognition by Washington that the group will likely
hold significant political power in Egypt`s post-Hosni Mubarak
The Brotherhood`s bid for prominence comes at a time of
growing discontent by pro-democracy protesters toward the
military council that took power in Egypt after Mubarak`s
ouster in February.
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters waving Egyptian
flags and banners rallied yesterday in Tahrir Square,
demanding speedy trials for former regime figures and
policemen accused of killing protesters during the 18-day
revolt that claimed 846 lives.
The demonstration came after clashes broke out earlier
this week between police and protesters pushing for faster
reforms. More than 1,000 people were injured and more than 30
arrested in the melees.
The Brotherhood has largely stayed clear from the recent
protests, denouncing most of them as unfocused and
Brotherhood spokesman Mohammed Ghozlan was responding to
comments by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on
Thursday that the Obama administration is reaching out to the
fundamentalist group in a "limited" effort to build ties and
promote democratic principles.
"We welcome dialogue with America to remove any
misunderstandings and bridge gaps," Ghozlan said.
He said it would be the first time the Brotherhood holds
talks with the United States. However, there were reports of
indirect and informal contacts between Brotherhood and US
officials several years ago particularly when the group was
represented in Egypt`s former parliament.