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EU’s Ashton Regrets Not Seeing Mursi, Urges his Release

Local Editor

Visiting EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Wednesday that she regretted not having been able to meet Egypt’s ousted president Mohammad Mursi on a visit to Cairo and urged Egypt’s interim leaders to free him.

Ashton held talks with Egypt’s new leaders, members of the grass-roots anti-Mursi movement Tamarod and officials from the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

But the EU’s top diplomat was not able to meet Mursi himself. He has been held in custody since the military overthrew him on July 3 after massive nationwide protests against his rule.

“I believe he should be released”, Ashton told reporters. “I was assured he is well. I would have liked to see him”.

US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who visited Cairo on Monday and Tuesday did not meet Brotherhood representatives and was snubbed by Tamarod.

Of Wednesday’s meeting with Ashton, senior FJP official Amr Darrag told the state MENA news agency: “The delegation didn’t come to ask the EU anything, the meeting took place at Ashton’s request”.

Ashton told Egypt’s interim leaders that the EU wanted “a quick return to the democratic process, and a full, inclusive process”, her spokesman Michael Mann told AFP. She also stressed “the need to get the economy going as quickly as possible” in a country where a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line.

Source. Al Manar

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