Clinton: U.S. Engagement of Muslim Brotherhood Not New Policy

U.S. secretary of state clarifies allegations that U.S. is increasing ties with the Islamist group, saying U.S. continuing 'approach of limited contacts'.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denied allegations that the United States is increasing contact with the Muslim Brotherhood in a press conference in Hungary Thursday to, saying that U.S. policy has not changed toward the Islamist group.

Clinton said in a press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest that the Obama Administration is continuing the approach of limited contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood that has existed on and off for about five or six years.

Muslim Brotherhood AP 22.11.2010

The U.S. secretary of state added that we believe, given the changing political landscape in Egypt, that it is in the interests of the United States to engage with all parties that are peaceful and committed to nonviolence, that intend to compete for the parliament and the presidency.

Clinton therefore clarified that the Obama administration welcomes dialogue, but only with those Muslim Brotherhood members who wish to talk with us.

Clinton stressed that all U.S. contact with the group is to be based upon democratic principles, and especially a commitment to nonviolence, respect for minority rights, and the full inclusion of women in any democracy.

The U.S. secretary of state made clear that this is not a new policy, saying that the importance here is that this is not a new policy, but it is one that we are reengaging in because of the upcoming elections.

However, she emphasized that there will be certain expectations set and certain messages delivered, and we hope that the move toward democracy that is taking place in Egypt will actually result in the kind of inclusive, participatory political system that we would like to see.