The Obama administration is reaching out to the Muslim Brotherhood in a "limited" effort to build ties and promote democratic principles ahead of Egypt's upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the U.S. isn't adopting a new policy. She says the administration wants to engage all Egyptian groups as long as they espouse nonviolence.
"We believe, given the changing political landscape in Egypt, that it is in the interests of the United States to engage with all parties that are peaceful, and committed to non-violence, that intend to compete for the parliament and the presidency," Clinton told reporters at a news conference.
"Now in any of those contacts, prior or future, we will continue to emphasize the importance of and support for democratic principles and especially a commitment to non-violence, respect for minority rights, and the full inclusion of women in any democracy."
Clinton says the hardline group also must respect minority rights and the full inclusion of women in the political sphere.
The Brotherhood favors a regime guided by Islamic Sharia law and was outlawed under former strongman Hosni Mubarak. It also reportedly birthed the major terrorist group, Hamas.
Israel is wary of any engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood because of the hostility some of its members have expressed toward the Jewish state.