EU’s Ashton sounds optimism on reconciliation potential in Egypt

Ahram Online, Monday 18 Nov 2013

Senior representative of the EU hailed the recent lifting of the state of emergency saying the union supports the people of Egypt at this 'difficult time'

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton (Photo: Reuters)

Catherine Ashton said on Monday that the situation is changing in Egypt after the lifting of the state of emergency last week.

"We have seen of course trials beginning and we have seen the potential perhaps for some form of reconciliation," said the EU's foreign policy chief.

"We have seen some interesting developments in the country. We have seen the state of emergency changing," said Ashton, in a statement published by the Delegation of European Union to Egypt, adding that she is hoping to receive the deputy prime minister soon.

She added that an EU mission has just returned from Cairo and that she is "looking forward today to catching up with them."

"But we continue to stay very close to Egypt and to try and support the people of Egypt through this at times quite difficult transition," she added.

However, Ashton also condemned continued violence.

The EU diplomat has repeatedly urged Egypt to adopt an inclusive democratic process that engages all factions.

Ashton has voiced alarm over the use of violence against Morsi supporters and a deepening polarisation since his exit, but has also condemned acts of violence against the authorities by Morsi supporters.

Ashton visited Egypt in October and met with several political groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, armed forces chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, and President Adly Mansour.

Analysts have interpreted Ashton's three-day visit to Cairo as a renewed attempt to broach a settlement between the transitional.

On Saturday, the pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy called for a national dialogue as a way out of the country's political strife, and in respect for "political plurality."

A Muslim Brotherhood source speaking on condition of anonymity told Ahram Online that the "national dialogue" proposed by group was a result of "external pressure exerted on the group and their allies" to push "for integration into the current political scene."

Minister of Social Solidarity Ahmed El-Borai stated earlier Sunday that the Egyptian government could agree to reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood if it accepts the transition roadmap as a starting point.

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