Egypt's Brotherhood rejects 'one-sided truce'

The Egyptian authorities have launched a massive crackdown on the Brotherhood since the Islamist leader's ouster by the military last July.

The Egyptian authorities have launched a massive crackdown on the Brotherhood since the Islamist leader's ouster by the military last July.

CAIRO – Two leaders from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood have rejected calls by a prominent columnist for the group to declare a "unilateral truce" to pave the way for political reconciliation amid ongoing political turmoil that has gripped the country since last summer's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi by the army.

"What does 'unilateral truce' mean?" Abdel-Meguid al-Darderi, a senior member of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), told Anadolu Agency.

Al-Darderi was reacting to a Tuesday article in private daily Al-Shorouk by well-known Islamist columnist Fahmi Huwaidi, in which the latter urged the embattled Brotherhood to "decisively" renounce violence and declare a "unilateral truce" to make way for reconciliation with Egypt's army-backed interim authorities.

The Egyptian authorities have launched a massive crackdown on the Brotherhood – which propelled Morsi to power in 2012 polls – since the Islamist leader's ouster by the military last July.

In the almost nine months since, the country has been caught in a cycle of political violence featuring frequent attacks on security personnel.

Blaming the Brotherhood for the violence, the Egyptian government designated the group a "terrorist" organization last December.

The Brotherhood, for its part, has repeatedly denied involvement in recent acts of violence, saying it would not give up its strategy of peaceful protest against the army-backed authorities.

"If Huwaidi meant stopping the terrorist attacks, then he should address the attacks' perpetrators – not the Brotherhood, which has consistently condemned the attacks," al-Darderi said. "And If he meant stopping the peaceful protests, this is impossible," he said.

Gamal Heshmat, a senior Brotherhood leader, likewise rebuffed Huwaidi's proposal.

"I don't know what Huwaidi means by "truce" when the land is soaked in Egyptians blood spilt by the coup leaders," Heshmat told AA by phone.

"It's up to those who killed, arrested and tortured people to declare a truce," he said.

Heshmat went on to criticize Huwaidi for "following the Egyptian media rhetoric that he has always censured."

"His appeal to the Brotherhood to 'renounce violence and terror' makes it sound as if he doesn't know the group or its history or is acquainted with its leaders or literature," he added.

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