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11 March 2012

Jimmy Carter: I trust Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

385472_184980054929916_184978978263357_376493_675074155_n.jpgIn the face of warnings by the Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to tear up the Arab nation’s peace treaty with Israel if U.S. aid is cut, former President Jimmy Carter, the chief negotiator of the 1978 deal, says he trusts the Islamists to do the right thing no matter what. The reason: because they told him so.

In an interview with the nationally-syndicated radio show America’s Morning News, he also raised concerns about Israel’s threat to attack Iran over nuclear weapons. Asked about the direction of the Israeli government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, Carter said, “He is much more eager to go to war than President Obama.” Carter praised Obama for trying to pull Netanyahu back.

Carter’s comments about the Muslim Brotherhood appear unrealistically hopeful considering the turmoil in Egypt, where the movement controls parliament, and where there is division over the issue of sustaining the old treaty cut at Camp David, Carter’s biggest achievement.

The treaty is considered critical to regional stability, but two leaders from the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood recently suggested ending it if the U.S. stops making its annual payment of about $1.3 billion in military supplies and $250 million in other subsidies. Egyptians consider the money a payment for keeping the peace.

On Thursday, Carter was interviewed by John McCaslin, co-host of America’s Morning News. Asked McCaslin: “Last year the world watched the Arab Spring descend on Egypt to ouster President Mubarak, and now Islamist parties control 74 percent of the seats in the Egyptian parliament, of which the Muslim Brotherhood, now Egypt’s new power brokers, got 47 percent. Do you now see Egypt moving away from the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty that you helped broker after the 1978 Camp David Accords?”

Carter, still very active in his Carter Center that promotes democracy and human rights, said no, and noted that he has met with leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. “They assured me personally and they have made public statements accordingly that they will honor the peace treaty that I helped negotiate in 1979. They know its very important to Egypt to maintain peace with Israel and I don’t have any doubt that they will carry out their promise to me.”


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