By Fady Ashraf
Deputy Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Khairat El-Shater met with the US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, Emirati foreign minister Abdallah Al-Nahyan, Qatari foreign minister Khalid AL-Attiyah and European Union delegate, Bernardino Leon, in heavily guarded Al-Akrab prison in the Tora Prison Complex late Sunday night.
State-owned news agency MENA cited an official source saying the meeting happened in the prison warden’s office and lasted for an hour, during which they tried to reach a “compatible formula” for pro-Morsi sit-ins dispersion without bloodshed.
General Hany Abdel Latif, head of Ministry of Interior’s media center confirmed the occurrence of the meeting after permission from persecution, saying that it happened late Saturday night and the ministry’s denial of the meeting was before it happened. Abdel Latif also confirmed that Burns is going to meet Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Chairman Saad Al-Katatni today-(Monday) in prison.
Ministry of Interior previously denied that the meeting happened, according to General Abdel Fatah Othman, the minister’s assistant for public relations and media, who told MENA that the news of the meeting happening is “totally untrue”.
Freedom and Justice Party issued a press statement in which they denied the occurrence of the meeting, saying that Mohamed Morsi is the legitimate elected president and that “whoever wants to talk to Egyptians should talk to him.” The statement insisted that the Anti-coup Coalition is the only front responsible of representing “peaceful anti-coup protestors in different Egyptian squares”
FJP Spokesman Tarek Al-Morsi said he cannot confirm nor deny the occurrence of the meeting but he said that such “leaks” are to pressure Brotherhood leaders to recognise the “bloody coup”. This was echoed by Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad who said he cannot confirm the occurrence of the meeting. Later, El-Haddad tweeted that El-Shater rejected meeting the delegation saying that “he is not in any position to speak, Morsi holds key to solving your mess go talk to him, no alternative to constitutional legitimacy.”
Essam Al-Erian, FJP’s vice-chairman issued a press statement saying that Burns will receive the same answer as El-Shater’s and the Anti-coup Coalition from Al-Katatni.
He added a series of procedures to be fulfilled after Morsi’s return, including Parliament elections in six months, constitutional amendments, a national reconciliation, cancellation of “fake cases” against Brotherhood leaders, the armed forces returning to their barracks, ratification of International Monetary Fund loan and cancellation of all debts during the “military coup” phase.
Mahmoud Belal, a lawyer, said there is nothing wrong legally with such meetings since there is official permission from the prosecution.