Egypt backs away from plan to dissolve Muslim Brotherhood

Egypt backs away from plan to dissolve Muslim Brotherhood
Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi throw stones at riot police and army personnel during clashes near Rabaa Adawiya square in Cairo August 14, 2013.

CAIRO - Egypt should not ban the Muslim Brotherhood or exclude it from the political process after the army's overthrow of Mohamed Mursi, the interim prime minister said on Tuesday, in a softening of state rhetoric against the Islamist group.

The apparent about-turn adds to speculation that the government is beginning to prepare for a possible political settlement to the crisis.

Hazem el-Beblawi proposed on Aug. 17 that the Arab world's oldest and arguably best organised Islamist group should be dissolved, and said the government was studying the idea.

He made the proposal to the minister of social affairs, who is responsible for licensing non-governmental organisations.

In an interview with state media late on Tuesday, Beblawi appeared to row back, saying the government would instead monitor the group and its political wing and that the actions of its members would determine its fate.

"Dissolving the party or the group is not the solution and it is wrong to make decisions in turbulent situations," the state news agency MENA quoted Beblawi as saying.

"It is better for us to monitor parties and groups in the framework of political action without dissolving them or having them act in secret."

Founded in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood was dissolved by Egypt's military rulers in 1954. Though still outlawed during the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak, the group ran a charitable network and its members ran as independents in limited elections.

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