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EU's Ashton meets with Brotherhood leaders

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton meets with Amr Darrag and Mohamed Ali Beshr as first step towards reconciliation talks

Ahram Online, Wednesday 2 Oct 2013
Views: 2192
Views: 2192

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has begun a meeting with Muslim Brotherhood leaders Amr Darrag and Mohamed Ali Bishr late Wednesday, according to Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website.

Ashton’s three-day visit to Cairo, which began on Wednesday, is being viewed by analysts as an a new attempt to broach a settlement between the transitional government and the Muslim Brotherhood, following the removal of the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi from the presidency in July.

The last month has seen a security crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters, with hundreds arrested.

According to Al-Ahram, the two senior Brotherhood figures will demand an end to the arrest campaign launched by Egypt's interim government against Brotherhood sympathisers and the release of those arrested without charges, in exchange for a halt to protests.

According to MENA agency, Ashton met earlier on Wednesday with Amr Moussa, the head of Egypt's constitution-drafting committee.

Ashton will meet Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi on Thursday, according to Ahram.

During her three-day visit, Ashton will hold talks with key members of Egypt's interim administration, including the prime minister, president, and army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

In addition to talks with the Brotherhood, Ashton is to hold talks with other Islamists including the Salafist Nour Party.

Ashton has visited the country twice since 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 Muslim Brotherhood and the transitional government over the summer.

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Samantha Criscione
02-10-2013 10:18pm
Ashton is in Cairo to aid the Brotherhood, NOT to achieve reconciliation
The statement that Ashton's latest landing "is being viewed by analysts as a new attempt to broach a settlement between the transitional government and the Muslim Brotherhood" insults our intelligence. First, that is the stated purpose for Ashton's visit, so analysts who cleverly view it in this way are not straining their analytical ability, just parroting Ashton. Second, since the Brotherhood is still demanding the usual -- reinstate Morsi, free the other Brotherhood murderers, and prevent the judicial system from arresting more Brotherhood criminals, etc. -- there is not a snowball's chance in hell of an agreement being reached. Ashton, not being an idiot, knows she won't get an agreement, so what is her real purpose? Manifestly, to make clear that the Brotherhood campaign of terror has not dampened EU support for Ikhwan, thus continuing to pressure the government in the hope of at least softening its anti-terrorist measures, thereby making the Brotherhood's job (i.e., terror) easier and, most important, boosting the morale of Brotherhood supporters by showing them that even though most Egyptians detest them, the EU loves them. -- Samantha Criscione
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