CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s government said on Wednesday it was committed to reconciliation and accused the Muslim Brotherhood, whose leaders are due to appear in court next week, of undermining efforts to resolve political turmoil.
The army toppled the Brotherhood’s President Mohamed Mursi in July after mass protests against his rule. Security forces killed hundreds of its members and jailed thousands, including Mursi and many other senior leaders.
“The government realizes from its side the importance of reconciliation,” said Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa El-Din in a statement.
“Those who are until now rejecting or stalling any understandings aimed at achieving reconciliation and stability for the Egyptian people are the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Mursi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader, is due to appear in court on Monday along with 14 other senior Muslim Brotherhood figures on charges of inciting violence.
Bahaa El-Din has tried to find a way out of Egypt’s political crisis since he put a proposal to the cabinet in August that called for an immediate end to the state of emergency, political participation for all parties and guarantees of human rights, including free assembly.
State-run media have marshaled public opinion against the Brotherhood and helped create a climate in which there is little tolerance for the Islamist movement that won every national vote after a popular uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
The Brotherhood accuses the army of staging a coup against Mursi and undermining democratic gains made since Mubarak’s ouster. The army says it was responding to the will of the people.
“Dialogue and reconciliation are unrealistic expectations given that the overwhelming majority of Muslim Brotherhood leadership is either incarcerated or being prosecuted on spurious grounds,” the Brotherhood’s press office in London said in a statement emailed to Reuters.
Near-daily street protests, clashes between supporters and opponents of Mursi and rising attacks by Islamist militants who security officials say are linked to the Brotherhood have hammered tourism and investment in Egypt, a U.S. ally.
Bahaa El-Din said the Brotherhood must decide which course it will take in Egypt, the most populous Arab state.
“It is up to the Muslim Brotherhood to decide whether it really wants to stay in the Egyptian political and social arena or if it will continue its acts of social attrition,” he said, referring to protests staged by the group and its supporters.
Bahaa El-Din said security measures were essential, but must be accompanied by a political framework to stabilize Egypt.
Reporting by Michael Georgy; Editing by Ralph Boulton