Wednesday, June 29, 2005
CAIRO, June 28 -- Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood group, banned from politics, said Tuesday that it was inviting opposition organizations to a conference to set up a permanent alliance that would push for political reform in the Arab world's most populous nation.
The National Alliance for Reform and Change conference, set to take place Thursday, could form the basis for the broad opposition front that the group has been trying to build. The alliance would campaign for political freedoms and enable the Brotherhood to play a full part in national politics.
The Brotherhood said it had invited prominent members of the Wafd Party and the Tagammu Party to take part in the conference, along with newer groups such as Kifaya, or Enough.
The Brotherhood statement said the alliance's demands would include the peaceful rotation of power, an independent judiciary and the freedom to form political parties.
Analysts say the Brotherhood hopes an alliance with largely secular groups will make it more acceptable to the United States, which has called for reform in Egypt.
"The Brotherhood is trying to appeal to the Europeans and the United States. . . . They are trying to show they are part of a national movement," said Abdel Moneim Said, director of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo.