UPI interviewed the head of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, Ali Sadreddine al-Bayanouni after the conclusion of the NSF conference in London. (Arabic. "Free Syria," 6/7/06). Here are excerpts from that interview.
Asked about whether the NSF conference received any letters of support from Lebanon, Bayanouni replied, "We in the conference did not receive any letter from any party outside Syria."
Bayanouni expressed satisfaction with the conference, adding, "It was good, and I think it has achieved the goals it set out which is to establish the general bases of the National Salvation Front and put forth a plan of action. ... I think it's a good start which calls for optimism."
As for the future of the Muslim Brotherhood's membership in the Damascus Declaration, he said, "We are members of the Declaration, and members in the NSF, and we asserted that membership in the NSF does not conflict with membership in other alliances or fronts, so long as it did not clash with the NSF's goals."
Bayanouni denied that he told a New York Times reporter that a future court would try Abdel Halim Khaddam after the current regime falls. He said, "This quote is inaccurate. I didn't say that. I said it wasn't our job to try people. If in the future there were cases brought against anybody, then those could be presented to a court. This does not only concern Mr. Khaddam, but any person. Even if Ali Bayanouni were accused of something, the national judiciary would be the one to decide."
Bayanouni went on to clarify, "We do not give certificates of innocence to anyone nor do we indict or exonerate anyone. This is not our job. We are now in the midst of a peaceful opposition to bring about democratic change in the country, and we are willing to partner with all the national groups."
He then said that the next step for the NSF will be to "turn the concluding statement of the London conference and the existing plan of action to practical steps and programs so that we could move forward and not remain confined to issuing statements."
As for the call for civil disobedience, Bayanouni said, "It is possible, but it needs to mature. Perhaps the coming days and months will bring it to maturity."