Muslim Brotherhood offer to discuss an Egypt without Morsi

The proposal to negotiate an end to the country's political crisis is the Islamists’ most flexible yet made in public, and comes “with no conditions”, a coalition official says.

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CAIRO // A Muslim Brotherhood-led alliance in Egypt said yesterday it would drop its demand that Mohammed Morsi be reinstated and called for talks to end the political crisis.

The coalition “calls on all revolutionary forces and political parties and patriotic figures to enter a deep dialogue on exiting the current crisis,” the alliance said.

The coalition, which has organised weekly protests despite a harsh police crackdown, said it would keep up “peaceful opposition” but said it wanted a “consensus for the public good of the country”.

The proposal is the Islamists’ most flexible yet made in public, and comes “with no conditions”, a coalition official said.

It comes after hundreds of people have been killed in unrest since Mr Morsi was deposed by the military on July 3 following massive protests calling for the Islamist president to step down. Thousands of people have been arrested.

Much of the Brotherhood’s leadership has been put on trial, including Mr Morsi.

“We have no conditions, and neither should they,” Imam Youssef, a leader of the Asala party, which is part of the Islamist coalition, said.

But he said the talks must lead to a “democratic” solution, and the coalition wanted them to start within two weeks.

The coalition was prepared to discuss “all solutions that lead to stability”.

The Islamists were prepared to respect the demands of the millions of protesters who took to the streets calling for Morsi’s ouster, Mr Youssef said.

“We want a democratic solution, and it does not necessarily mean we have to be in power.”

Asked if the coalition would insist on Morsi’s return to office, he said: “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves.”

Unlike previous offers, which all hinged on Mr Morsi’s return to power before negotiations, the Islamists were pointedly vague on their end goals.

They demanded “a return to constitutional legitimacy and the democratic process with the participation of all political groups, without one group monopolising the process or excluding any group.”

The vague formulation allows the Islamists room to manoeuvre.

His reinstatement is often included in what they describe as “legitimacy”, in addition to that of the suspended constitution and senate.

But privately Brotherhood officials have said they might agree to a “constitutional” exit for the president, such as his nominal resignation.

The interim government will organise parliamentary elections in February or March, followed by presidential elections in the summer.

* Agence France-Presse