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EU envoy Ashton to visit Egypt Tuesday, again

Catherine Ashton will meet with key government officials as well as senior figures within the Muslim Brotherhood

Ahram Online, Sunday 29 Sep 2013
Catherine Ashton
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (Photo: Reuters)
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European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton will arrive in Cairo on Tuesday for an official visit, state news agency MENA reported.

Ashton has visited the country twice since the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi was ousted from the presidency in July. She was one of a number of international envoys who tried unsuccessfully to reduce tensions between the Islamist group and the transitional government over the summer.

Ashton was the first foreign leader to be allowed to meet with Morsi at the undisclosed location where he is being held by the Egyptian security forces.

A diplomatic source told MENA that Ashton’s visit, which will last for three days, will include talks with key members of the Egyptian government, including interim President Adly Mansour, Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, army chief and Defence Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, and Foreign Affairs Minister Nabil Fahmy.

Ashton also reportedly plans to meet Amr Moussa, the head of the committee charged with amending the 2012 constitution, and with Mohamed Ali Beshr and Amr Darrag, leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party.

Essam El-Erian, another leading member of the Freedom and Justice Party, on Sunday proposed an initiative to end current political crisis which includes the return of Morsi to office.

The EU strongly condemned a violent crackdown on pro-Morsi protest camps by security forces in Cairo on 14 August which led to hundreds of deaths.

Following the violence, the EU halted weapons exports to Egypt by member states.

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