Egypt's Sisi sees need for political solution: ElBaradei

CAIRO Fri Aug 2, 2013 12:39pm EDT

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed Elbaradei speaks with the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad while attending an official meeting in Tehran January 12, 2008. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed Elbaradei speaks with the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad while attending an official meeting in Tehran January 12, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi understands that there must be a political solution to Egypt's crisis, Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei said in an interview published on Friday, adding that the general was not thinking of running for president.

"He understands that there has to be a political solution. But of course he has a responsibility to protect the country in terms of security. And the army is on the edge," ElBaradei told the Washington Post.

The interview was published as the European Union pursued an effort to negotiate an end to the standoff between the Muslim Brotherhood and the army-backed administration installed after President Mohamed Mursi's July 3 downfall.

ElBaradei said protest camps set up by the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo should be disbanded through dialogue, following Interior Ministry warnings that steps would be taken to disperse them.

"I do not want to see any more bloodshed. Nobody wants that. We are doing our best," ElBaradei said.

"That's why (I favor) a dialogue renouncing violence as part of a package for them to disband this whole demonstration and then start building the country," he added.

"They need to cooperate," he added, in reference to the Brotherhood. "But they need of course to feel secure, they need immunity, they need to feel that they are not excluded. It's things we are willing to provide."

In detention since he was deposed, Mursi faces a judicial inquiry into accusations of murder and conspiring with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in 2011 when he escaped from prison during the revolt against former President Hosni Mubarak.

ElBaradei said he would like to see the charges against Mursi dropped "if they are not very serious".

"I would like to see a possible pardon as a part of a grand package. Because the fate of the country is much more important," he said.

He also said Sisi was not thinking of running for president.

"You see Sisi's picture everywhere, and it's good that he is not thinking of running for president. It's good that he does not want to have the army run the country," he said.

"But people in a national emergency look for power, and the power rests with the army right now."

(Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Michael Georgy and Alistair Lyon)

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