Jan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Deputy Secretary of State William Burns met with leaders of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the highest-level contact between the U.S. and the group since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in February.
Burns met with Mohammed Morsi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party in Cairo, department spokesman Victoria Nuland said yesterday. The meeting took place as Egypt concludes the final round of elections that Muslim parties have dominated.
With Islamists set to claim a majority, other Egyptians have expressed worry about the rights of minorities. Burns and other U.S. diplomats are also raising those concerns, Nuland said.
Yesterday’s meeting “was an opportunity to hear from them and to reinforce our expectation that all the major parties will support human rights, tolerance, rights of women and will also uphold Egypt’s existing international obligations,” Nuland said.
Burns is the highest ranking U.S. official to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood, which won 35.2 percent of the vote in the third and final round of parliamentary elections, according to the state-run Al Ahram newspaper.
Diplomats from the U.S. embassy in Cairo and other State Department officials have met with the Muslim Brotherhood in the past. They have also met with a more conservative coalition of Salafist Islamic parties, Nuland said.
The Salafists received 27.5 percent backing in this latest round, Al Ahram said.
--Editors: Jim Rubin, Don Frederick
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