Palestinian president to contact Brotherhood if it forms Egypt’s government

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that he does not mind contacting the Muslim Brotherhood should it form the government in Egypt.

“We met with them before,” he said in an interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Abbas said he is not worried about the rise of the Islamists in several Arab countries.

“It was the choice of the people,” he said. “After all, I deal with Netanyahu because he is an elected president.”

“The Arab Spring reached Palestine on 15 March when the people went out and said they want to end the Palestinian division,” he said. “And if they say down with Abbas I shall abide.”

The Muslim Brotherhood voiced its strongest criticism yet of Egypt's army-appointed government Monday, saying it was failing to deal with crises in security and the economy, and reiterated a call for a new national unity cabinet.

Brotherhood leaders have made repeated calls for a new coalition government representing the parties in Parliament this month. The existing cabinet is led by Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri, a 79-year-old who served in the post under Hosni Mubarak and was reappointed by the military council in November.

Ganzouri is due to stay in office until mid-year, the end of a period of interim rule being overseen by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which is due to hand over power to an elected president at the end of June.

Last week, the Brotherhood announced that the SCAF has refused its initiative of forming a new coalition government. According to the interim constitution issued by the ruling military council last March, the only authority capable of dismissing and forming a cabinet during the transitional period is the SCAF itself.

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