U.S. won’t interfere in Egyptian transition, White House official says

U.S. won’t interfere in Egyptian transition, White House official says

WASHINGTON — A senior White House official told Jewish leaders that the United States does not deal with the Muslim Brotherhood but would not interfere in the Egyptian transition process.

Dan Shapiro, the senior National Security Council official dealing with Israel and its neighbors, briefed Jewish leaders on Wednesday evening, as forces loyal to Hosni Mubarak unleashed violence against protesters seeking to unseat his 30-year autocracy.

Alan Solow, the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, asked Shapiro to elaborate on comments earlier in the day by Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, who had said that “meaningful transition must include opposition voices and parties being involved in this process as we move toward free and fair elections. But that process must begin now.”

Solow asked if the White House included the Muslim Brotherhood among “opposition voices and parties.”

Shapiro said: “That’s something that will be determined by the Egyptian people. The United States will not be an arbiter.”

He added that it is U.S. policy not to deal with the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that rejects Israel’s existence and maintains relations with groups such as Hamas, designated by the United States as terrorist.

Shapiro condemned the violence that erupted Wednesday, and said that the Obama administration had reassured Israeli leaders that its commitment to Israel was “rock solid.”