WASHINGTON – Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has assured the United States that it will abide by the various treaties signed by previous Cairo governments, including the peace deal with Israel, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters on Thursday.
Her statement effectively contradicted one made by a top Muslim Brotherhood official, who said last week that the party was not obligated to adhere to the 1979 peace treaty, signed between then-leaders Anwar al-Sadat and Menachem Begin.
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Rashad al-Bayoumi, the movement's second in command, told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper that "the Muslim Brotherhood will not recognize Israel under any circumstances and might put the peace treaty with the Jewish state up to a referendum."
The Brotherhood, he added, "did not sign the peace accords… We are allowed to ask the people or the elected parliament to express their opinion on the treaty, and (to find out) whether it compromised the people's freedom and sovereignty. We will take the proper legal steps in dealing with the peace deal. To me, it isn't binding at all. The people will express their opinion on the matter."
Nevertheless, Nuland insisted that the various political parties in Egypt have offered the US "good guarantees" that the peace treaty will be observed. She stressed that Washington fully expects all of Cairo's political factions to honor the previous regime's international agreements.
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman is currently in the Middle East and is meeting with various Egyptian officials. The meetings are focused on the third round of elections in the country. The first two rounds have seen an overwhelming victory for the Islamist parties.
The Muslim Brotherhood has so far won 40% of the votes in each round.
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