The Muslim Brotherhood assured the United States it would not break Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel, a State Department spokesperson said Thursday.
"We have had other assurances from the party with regard to their commitment not only to universal human rights, but to the international obligations that the government of Egypt has understaken," Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington.
However, the deputy head of the Freedom and Justice Party, Essam Arian, told the London-based Arabic newspapers Al-Hayat and Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Saturday that there were no assurances.
“No one in Egypt can promise anything on behalf of the entire nation. The meaning of a democracy is that the agreements are under the responsibility of the people and state institutions, and not one party or another.”
According to the web site of Yediot Acharanot, Rashad al-Bayoumi, the Brotherhood's second in command, told Al-Hayat that "the Muslim Brotherhood will not recognize Israel under any circumstances and might put the peace treaty with the Jewish state up to a referendum … We will take the proper legal steps in dealing with the peace deal. To me, it isn't binding at all. The people will express their opinion on the matter."
The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's departure from power has raised concerns that political reform in the Arab world's most populous country could lead to the emergence of a hostile regime that would depart from its historic peace accord with the Jewish state.
In an interview published Sunday, Rashad Bayoumi, the party's deputy leader, said the group will not recognize Israel "under any circumstance."
Asked about Bayoumi's comment, Nuland said he was but one member of the Muslim Brotherhood and that the party would be judged by what it does.