Ashton Meets With Egypt's Morsi
July 30, 2013
After a meeting with ousted Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi, the European Union's foreign policy chief has called on all sides in Egypt to try to resolve the country's increasingly bloody crisis through talks.
Catherine Ashton traveled to Egypt to mediate a resolution to the crisis that followed Morsi's overthrow by the military on July 3.
Ashton visited Morsi at an undisclosed location for two hours on July 29. She also held talks with the army chief who was behind Morsi's ouster, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and leaders of the army-installed interim government, as well as the Islamist opposition.
At a news conference in Cairo, Ashton said the deposed president was in good health and had access to television and newspapers.
"He is well," she said, "and we had a friendly, and open, and very frank discussion for the two hours I saw him. I saw where he was -- I don't know where he is, but I saw the facilities he has -- and we had a warm discussion."
She did not reveal details of their discussions.
Morsi is being held on suspicion of crimes relating to his escape from prison in 2011 during the uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak. His whereabouts have been unknown since July 3.
Ashton also said she told all sides that Egypt's crisis could be resolved only through an inclusive political process.
"I've urged everyone to think very carefully about how you include everybody in the process," she said, "because it's of enormous importance that what I call 'building deep democracy' continues: civilian government going forward; elections -- if that is what is decided -- everyone participating; and building institutions that will ensure a deeper democracy for the country for the future."
She is on her second visit to Egypt since widespread political unrest gripped the country before and after Morsi's ouster. On her last visit, she was refused a meeting with the deposed president.
She said she had made meeting Morsi a condition for her return.
Ashton arrived in Egypt on July 28, a day after dozens were killed at a rally of Morsi supporters in Cairo.
Nearly 300 people have been killed in violence since Morsi was removed by the army on July 3.
With reporting by AFP and Reuters
Copyright (c) 2013. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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