EU's Ashton ready to return to Egypt: Official

AFP , Wednesday 31 Jul 2013

The European Union's foreign affairs chief is ready to return to Egypt to continue efforts to 'help facilitate moves towards democratic transition'

EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton who has just completed her second trip this month to Egypt is ready to return if she can help resolve the country's crisis, her spokesman said Wednesday.

"Ashton (is) willing to return to Egypt in order to help facilitate moves towards democratic transition," Michael Mann said in a tweeted message.

In the meantime, Bernardino Leon, European Union Special Representative for the region, will go back to Egypt at Ashton's request on Wednesday to continue working "with all sides on a way forward".

Leon's visit is the latest in "ongoing EU efforts to help facilitate a fully inclusive political process," Mann said.

The EU is "working in Egypt with wide-ranging support from both member states and other international partners," he added.

Ashton went to Cairo late Sunday, meeting senior officials, including the head of the armed forces which ousted president Mohamed Morsi on July 3 after mass protest against his Islamist rule.

She saw Morsi, who is held in detention at a secret location, and found him "well."

Ashton also repeated her calls for an agreed return to civilian rule in a process which would include all parties, Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood among them.

She returned to Brussels on Tuesday.

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