Clinton Welcomes Muslim Brotherhood Participation

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she welcomed the inclusion of the Muslim Brotherhood with other opposition groups in talks with the Egyptian government on Sunday.

"Today we learned the Muslim Brotherhood decided to participate, which suggests they at least are now involved in the dialogue that we have encouraged," Clinton said on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, National Public Radio reported.

"We're going to wait and see how this develops, but we've been very clear about what we expect," she said.

"The Egyptian people are looking for an orderly transition that can lead to free and fair elections," Clinton said. "This is what the United States has consistently supported."

Clinton said the U.S. Is "adamant about non-violence" and it will be up to the Egyptian people to determine if the transition "is or is not meeting their needs."

Newly appointed Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman invited the formerly outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to participate with other opposition groups in discussions on government reform Sunday.

Topping the agenda were lifting of the country's emergency laws, freedom of the press, and releasing anti-government protesters arrested over more than two weeks of violent demonstrations.

Following the meeting, Suleiman said the government would establish a committee made up of judiciary and political figures to study constitutional reforms that would allow more candidates to run for president, impose term limits, and draft a format to incorporate government reforms.

But opposition leaders said the talks fell short of their demands for a complete overhaul of the system, including the core demand that President Hosni Mubarak step down. They promised to intensify protests until their demands are met.

"People still want the president to step down," protest organizer Mostafa al-Naggar, a supporter of Mohamed ElBaradei, said, according to The Associated Press.

"The protest continues because there are no guarantees and not all demands have been met," he said. "We are still demanding that the president step down," he said.

Brotherhood spokesman Essam el-Erian said "Mubarak will have to stop being stubborn by the end of the week because the country cannot take more million-strong protests."

The Muslim Brotherhood's stated goal is to establish an Islamic state in Egypt, under sharia law.

On Monday, the government is set to conduct its first full cabinet meeting since Mubarak announced changes to the cabinet on January 28.

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