State Dept. says US officials will not meet with Muslim Brotherhood delegation

The State Department said Tuesday U.S. officials will not meet with Muslim Brotherhood representatives visiting Washington after Egypt reportedly summoned the U.S. ambassador in Cairo to express displeasure at the visit.

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told a press briefing that the U.S. will remain in contact with groups “across the political spectrum” in Egypt, but there were no plans to meet with the delegation expected to come to a private conference this week in the U.S. capital.

Rathke offered no specific explanation as to why officials were not meeting with the delegation.

Egypt summoned Ambassador Stephen Beecroft to express its disapproval at the visit, Reuters reported Monday.

The news agency also reported that U.S. officials met with Brotherhood representatives who came to Washington in January.

Rathke said Tuesday that although there were no plans for the administration to meet with the delegation, there would be no change in U.S. policy on engaging with many different groups in Egypt.

“We will remain in contact with groups across the political spectrum in Egypt,” Rathke said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was elected in 2014 after the Muslim Brotherhood-led government fell in 2013. Egyptian authorities led a crackdown against the Brotherhood, banning the group and labelling it a terrorist organization.

In March, a criminal court sentenced the Brotherhood’s leader – Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie – and 13 othersto death in connection to violence that swept the country after the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.