By Jihad Abu Falah
Reconciliation talks between the Syrian government and the Muslim Brotherhood took place in London days after the death of President Hafez Assad, according to a source close to the Syrian opposition group in Amman Friday.
The source, who asked for anonymity, said that the overall leader of Syria’s Brotherhood, Ali Sadreddin Bayanouni, met with Syrian officials where he “received signals confirming the Syrian government’s wish to open a new chapter in its relation with the group.”
According to the source, the outlines of the new Syrian approach include a general amnesty and allowing all the group’s members in exile to return to Syria, and thirdly, giving the green light for the movement to function in public as a charity.
For his part, Bayanouni set the condition that the so-called Article 48 be abolished. The law stipulates a death sentence for members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Syrian authorities cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood in 1980 in a bloody campaign that witnessed arrests and executions of suspected members of the group. Thousands fled their homeland, taking haven in neighboring countries, particularly Jordan, whose relations with its northern neighbor have soured since then.
The source told Albawaba.com that the group “sees in the Syrian president Bashar Assad’s reign a new era, and it is ready to deal with him if a general amnesty is issued, and the group members are allowed back home.”
He added that they want to be allowed to form a political party “but has no objection to it working as a charity, as is the case with Jordan’s Brotherhood.”
In an Albawaba.com’s report Thursday, sources said preparations are underway for the general amnesty, expected after the new president is sworn in.
The sources confirmed that a dialogue will be conducted between government and opposition, the Islamists in particular.
Meanwhile, the source in Amman said that Bayanouni prefers to stay in London for the time being rather than coming back to Jordan, which “sends direct and indirect messages expressing it dissatisfaction of the group’s presence and activities in Jordan, and its wish that they leave Jordan.”
The same source stressed that “the group has been pressured and harassed since Hafez Assad died, in a bid by Amman to strengthen its relations with Damascus” – Albawaba.com
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