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US: Muslim Brotherhood Could Play Role In Egypt

WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States is acknowledging that the hardline Muslim Brotherhood may play a role in Egypt's transition from autocracy if it agrees to a peaceful, democratic process.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley says the U.S. isn't dictating Egypt's shift from President Hosni Mubarak's three decades in power. He says it is up to Egyptians to determine the process, but he called on the Muslim Brotherhood - which is a banned group - to respect democratic processes.

Crowley said U.S. officials haven't met with members of the Muslim Brotherhood though they've spoken to other opposition groups.

He acknowledged Wednesday the hardline Islamist movement is "a fact of life in Egypt."

Some fear the group could threaten U.S. interests on issues including Arab-Israeli peace efforts to counterterrorism if they gain power.