White House and other U.S. officials met with representatives of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement in Washington earlier this week, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said.
Tuesday’s meeting with working-level National Security Council officials was just one in a series of meeting between U.S. officials, senators and members of the Muslim Brotherhood designed to broaden the United States’ engagement with Egypt’s new and emerging political parties, Vietor told journalists on Wednesday.
“We believe that it is in the interest of the United States to engage with all parties that are committed to democratic principles, especially nonviolence,” he said. “In all our conversations with these groups, we emphasize the importance of respect for minority rights, the full inclusion of women, and our regional security concerns.”
The Islamist group has been banned in Egypt for decades before being legalized following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in last year’s popular uprising, and has since emerged as a powerful political force. Its Freedom and Justice Party is set to control almost half of the seats in Egypt’s new parliament.
Vietor’s announcement came just days after the Muslim Brotherhood said it would put forward its main financier Khairat al-Shatir to run in next month’s presidential elections, reversing its previous pledge not to take part in the vote.