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Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood 'isolated': Prime Minister

Reported by Hadley Gamble, Written by Holly Ellyatt
Monday, 6 Jan 2014 | 1:34 AM ET
Muslim Brotherhood 'losing self-confidence': Egyptian PM
Monday, 6 Jan 2014 | 2:20 AM ET
Hazem Al-Beblawi, Prime Minister of Egypt, says the ousted Muslim Brotherhood is losing self-confidence and the government is in "command", as tensions escalate between supporters of the Islamist party and the security forces.

Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood party is isolated and "in a corner," the country's interim Prime Minister, Hazem Al-Beblawi, told CNBC as tensions escalate between supporters of the Islamist party and the security forces.

"The Muslim Brotherhood [is] in a situation whereby politically they feel more and more isolated," Al-Beblawi told CNBC. "They are in a state of denial. They are really in a corner, on the one hand they don't accept [and] recognize what happened [to their party]," he added.

Al-Beblawi, an economist by training, has led the country through a volatile political period since the former Islamist President Mohammed Mursi was deposed by the Egyptian army last July. That followed widespread protests at what was seen as his increasingly autocratic rule.

Since then, however, the country's security forces have clamped down on his party, the Muslim Brotherhood, arresting thousands of its members and declaring it a "terrorist organization" in December, moves which have led to violent clashes between party supporters and police.

In the latest escalation of tensions, two people were killed in violent clashes in the coastal city of Alexandria last week, the Ministry of the Interior said.

Al-Beblawi said the Muslim Brotherhood was "losing the support of the general population" and that a minority of its members was trying to sabotage the present government.

(Read more: Egypt seen as graveyard of Islamist ambitions for power)

"There was a political regime that unfortunately mismanaged and created a lot of discontent with the population. People took to the streets in [an] unprecedented manifestation [but now] you have a group of political agents who still have the idea that they are facing a coup. Which I think it's totally unrealistic."

Attacks will continue in Egypt: Pro
Anthony Skinner, head of MENA at Maplecroft, says there are likely to be further terrorist attacks in Egypt as tensions in the country rise.

Mursi himself is due to be sentenced on January 28 on three charges including the organization of a mass jail break in 2011, the killing of protesters and collaborating with other Islamist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. He could face the death penalty over such charges.

(Read more: Egypt on path towards democracy: John Kerry)

In addition to Mursi's imprisonment, former Prime Minister Hisham Kandil was arrested in December while trying to flee to Sudan. He was sentenced to a year in prison for failing to implement a court ruling to re-nationalize a textile firm, Reuters reported. Al-Beblawi told CNBC that Kandil was not in prison because of "political business," insisting that his sentence was a "civil" issue.

Al-Beblawi told CNBC that there were "indications" of evidence linking the Muslim Brotherhood with terrorism.

"We have some evidence from many leaders of the Muslim brothers who say as far as the present government is not changed you will see all sorts of trouble. You will not rest quiet," he said.

Correction: A previous version of this story said El-Beblawi told CNBC that Mursi was not in prison because of "political business." He was in fact referring to the former Prime Minister Hisham Kandil.