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Muslim Brotherhood an “entirely” legal organisation in UK: FCO spokesperson

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Egypt’s foreign ministry addresses Arab League countries to implement the Arab Convention on Suppression of Terrorism

Egyptian security forces inspect the site of a powerful car bomb explosion in the Egyptian city of Mansura, North of Cairo, on December 24, 2013. The bombing tore through a police building in Mansura early today, killing at least 14 people, an attack the authorities said was aimed at derailing the country's transition to democracy.  (AFP PHOTO/MAHMOUD KHALED)

Egyptian security forces inspect the site of a powerful car bomb explosion in the Egyptian city of Mansura, North of Cairo, on December 24, 2013.
(AFP PHOTO/MAHMOUD KHALED)

The United Kingdom’s government is “assessing” the implications of announcing Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, yet has continued to recognise the Brotherhood as  “an entirely legal organisation in the UK,” according to a Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokesperson.

The UK’s FCO statements follow the listing of the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation by Egypt’s interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi’s cabinet on Wednesday. The cabinet also ordered the Foreign Ministry to notify Arab countries which signed the 1998 Arab Convention on Suppression of Terrorism with the decision.

The FCO expressed the UK government’s belief on Saturday that bringing all Egyptians “into the mainstream political process” would help achieve stability and security in the Arab state.

“We support an inclusive political system which represents all groups in society,” the FCO’s statement said. “The UK continues to support the Egyptian people to choose their government in elections next year. We urge the interim government to undertake an inclusive political process to allow Egypt a prosperous and stable future.”

Groups are designated as terrorist groups in the UK as per the Terrorism Act of 2000. Fifty-two organisations are already listed as terrorist organisations, including two Egyptian organisations: Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya and the Islamic Jihad Organisation.

The main office of IKhwanweb, the Muslim Brotherhood’s only official English website, is located in London.

The FCO said on Saturday that the UK’s government is discussing the implications of Egypt’s designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation with international partners.

On Thursday, Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced to Arab countries which have signed the 1998 Arab Convention on Suppression of Terrorism of the cabinet’s decision to list the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation.

The convention, signed by 17 Arab states, mandates that all signatory states engage in preventive measures, measures of suppression, exchange of information and expertise and investigation in order to combat terrorism in the Arab world. Article 3 of the convention also prevents signatory states from organising, financing or committing terrorist acts. Article 4 obliges signatory states to extradite terrorist convicts to the states which request their extradition.

Among the signatories to the convention is Qatar, which has repeatedly been accused of harbouring several pro-Mohamed Morsi figures.

Following its weekly meeting on Wednesday, the Egyptian interim cabinet announced listing the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation, adding that it will be legally accountable under Article 86 of the Egyptian Penal Code.

The decision comes in the wake of an explosion that occurred in the Al-Daqahleya security directorate on Monday, resulting in the death of 16 people and the injury of more than 100. Despite the Muslim Brotherhood’s condemnation of the attack and the lack of evidence linking the bombing to the organisation, various parties have held the Brotherhood accountable.

With the cabinet’s declaration, the Muslim Brotherhood has joined the ranks of the Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis group and the Lebanese Hezbollah group, both earlier classified as terrorist groups by Egypt.


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