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Egypt 'working on reconciliation deal' with Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood movement has been blacklisted and subjected to a harsh crackdown [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 November, 2016

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Egyptian media has claimed that Cairo and the Muslim Brotherhood are working on a settlement agreement with Saudi Arabia acting as an intermediary.

Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood are in talks to end years of unrest, a Saudi-based leader of the group told al-Shorouq newspaper.

The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the deal would prohibit the Muslim Brotherhood from taking part in Egyptian politics for five years and ensure it would cease "anti-government activities" in return for releasing prisoners.

"The deal will be made under the auspices and come with guarantees from Saudi Arabia," the newspaper quoted the source as saying.

He added that the deal would be beneficial to both sides as it would improve the government's human rights record and the stability could help fix the dire economic situation facing the country.

According to the sources, the Egyptian government has already contacted a former member of the presidential team of ousted President Mohamed Morsi to discuss the initiative.

There are signs that the regime could be softening its stance.

On Tuesday, an Egyptian appeals court quashed one of two life sentences handed down against former President Mohamed Morsi since his 2013 overthrow.

It was the second appeals victory in just over for a week for Morsi, who also saw the death sentence commuted.

The Muslim Brotherhood movement has been blacklisted and subjected to a crackdown that has killed hundreds of its supporters and seen thousands jailed or sentenced to death.

The New Arab political pundit Wael Kandil said that it was possible Sisi could be courting a reconciliation deal with the Brotherhood to improve relations with Saudi Arabia.

"Sisi's primary concern is getting back what he lost from Saudi Arabia.. which is the monthly Aramco fuel shipments," Kandil said.

Despite agreeing in April to provide Egypt with 700,000 tonnes of oil per month for five years, Saudi Arabia recently halted supplies of refined oil products.

This came amid rising tensions between Riyadh and Cairo over regional conflicts, including Syria's war.

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