Clinton cautiously welcomes Muslim Brotherhood talks

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cautiously welcomed Sunday the Muslim Brotherhood's involvement in political dialogue in Egypt, saying Washington would "wait and see" how talks develop.

"Today we learned the Muslim Brotherhood decided to participate, which suggests they at least are now involved in the dialogue that we have encouraged," Clinton told National Public Radio (NPR) from Germany.

"We're going to wait and see how this develops, but we've been very clear about what we expect."

Vice President Omar Suleiman met on Sunday with opposition groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, a well-organised Islamist movement that has long been officially banned from Egyptian politics, the official MENA news agency said.

The talks are aimed at discussing democratic reforms leading to elections to replace President Hosni Mubarak. In almost two weeks of mass protests, demonstrators have called for the 82-year-old to step down.

"The Egyptian people are looking for an orderly transition that can lead to free and fair elections. That is what the United States has consistently supported," Clinton said in Munich.

"The people themselves, and leaders of various groups ... will ultimately determine if it is or not meeting their needs."

© 2011 AFP

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