Wed, May 07, 2014 - Page 6 News List

Muslim Brotherhood is finished: Egypt’s Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi

Reuters, CAIRO

Egyptian presidential frontrunner Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Monday appeared to rule out reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood, raising the specter of a prolonged conflict with a group he said was finished.

Al-Sisi, who ousted former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi of the Brotherhood in July last year after mass protests against Morsi’s rule, accused the Brotherhood of links to violent militant groups, adding that two plots to assassinate him had been uncovered.

“I want to tell you that it is not me that finished [the Brotherhood]. You, the Egyptians, are the ones who finished it,” al-Sisi said in a joint interview with Egypt’s privately owned CBC and ONTV television channels broadcast on Monday.

Asked whether the Brotherhood would cease to exist during his presidency, al-Sisi answered: “Yes. That’s right.”

Al-Sisi is expected to easily win the May 26 and May 27 presidential election. The only other candidate is leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, who came third in the 2012 election won by Morsi.

Al-Sisi’s supporters view him as a decisive figure who can stabilize a country plagued by street protests and political violence since an army-backed popular uprising toppled former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The Brotherhood, which says it is committed to peaceful activism, has accused al-Sisi of staging a coup and masterminding the removal of Morsi.

Al-Sisi, a head of military intelligence under Mubarak, confirmed rumors that there had been attempts on his life, highlighting the security challenges facing Egypt.

Al-Sisi said there were “two attempts to assassinate me. I believe in fate, I am not afraid.”

An Islamist militant insurgency has been growing since Morsi’s overthrow. Islamist militants have killed several hundred members of the security forces in bombings and shootings.

The army-backed authorities have outlawed the Brotherhood, which won all the elections after Mubarak’s fall. Thousands of its supporters have been arrested and hundreds killed. Top leaders, including Morsi, are on trial.

A court sentenced the leader of the Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, and hundreds of supporters to death last week.

Al-Sisi also expressed his support for a law criticized by rights groups for imposing tight restrictions on the right to demonstrate.

“I say that anything needed for security and stability we will do,” he said.

He appeared to acknowledge abuses reported by rights groups during the security campaign.

“We must understand that there cannot be a security situation with this depth and confusion that we are seeing, without some violations,” he said. “There is law and procedures taken so that this does not happen again.”

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