Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which claims it has won at least 41 percent of the seats in Egypt's lower house of parliament in the third round of voting, on Saturday denied remarks made by U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland that the Islamist group made guarantees to the U.S. that it would continue to respect Egypt's peace treaty with Israel.
In an interview over the weekend with the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, Essam Arian, said, "We never promised that we would honor the peace treaty with Israel. The treaty is not sacred and we can and should make changes in it."
Another senior member of the party told the London-based newspaper Asharq Alawsat, "The movement's position is not to recognize the Zionist entity and not to recognize peace agreements with hostile entities, and this position will never change."
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The official results of the third and final round of the Egyptian elections for the lower house of parliament were expected to be published Sunday. According to most estimates, the Islamist camp, which comprises the Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafists, won almost two-thirds of the assembly seats so far.
It may be some weeks before the exact shape of the lower house is known because of various run-off votes. However, it is unlikely that their outcome will chip away at the dominance of the Islamists, who now look set to wield major influence over the shaping of a new constitution. That document will be drafted by a 100-strong body, selected by the new assembly.
The Brotherhood has promised that Egyptians of all persuasions will have their say and while the strong Islamist performance has alarmed some Egyptians and Western governments that backed Mubarak, it is far from clear whether rival Islamists will cooperate in the new legislature.
The Brotherhood's Democratic Alliance list has won 41% of the seats so far, while another list led by the hardline Islamist Nour Party came second with 20% of the seats.
Elections are also set to begin in the coming weeks for the upper house of parliament.
Meanwhile, in an interview with another British newspaper, The Independent, published on Saturday, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said, "With the Muslim Brotherhood part of the government [in Egypt], they [the Egyptians] will not besiege Gaza. They will not arrest Palestinians. They will not give cover to Israel to launch a war. Gaza was a main reason for the Arab Spring. It was people's anger at the regimes that co-operated with Israel and did not recognize the government here."
Haniyeh added, "[Israel] knows the strategic environment is changing. Iran is an enemy. Relations are deteriorating with Turkey. With Egypt, they are really cold. Israel is in a security situation they have never been in before. The Palestinians are winning more than anybody else due to what's happening in the Arab countries. That will come out clearly in the future."
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