Egypt`s ousted Mohamed Morsi `well`: EU`s Ashton

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 18:23

Cairo: Egypt`s ousted President Mohamed Morsi is "well", EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Tuesday after meeting him at an undisclosed location as she tries to broker a political solution.

The visit in the early hours of Monday was the first time anyone has officially been allowed to meet the deposed leader since his July 03 ouster by the Army.

It came as Morsi`s supporters vowed no let-up in their demonstrations for his reinstatement despite weekend clashes that left 82 people dead.

"Morsi is well," Ashton told reporters.

"He has access to information in terms of TV, newspapers, so we were able to talk about the situation and we were able to talk about the need to move forward."

"We had a friendly, open and very frank discussion," she added of their two-hour talks, declining to characterise Morsi`s comments, or give details of where he is being held.

Sources told a news agency that Ashton left Cairo by military helicopter to visit Morsi, who is being held on allegations related to his escape from prison during Egypt`s 2011 uprising.

On her last visit on July 17, Ashton unsuccessfully requested to meet the ousted president and urged his release.

This time, meeting him was a condition of her visit to Egypt, she said.

"I said that I would not come unless I could see him and that was freely offered to me."

But she said her talks with Morsi and a string of government officials and opposition representatives were not intended to push the two sides to the table.

"We want to help facilitate the bringing together of ideas," she said, adding that she was hoping to find "common ground."

"I don`t come here to say somebody should do this, somebody should do that, this is your country," she said.

On Sunday and Monday, Ashton met Army Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Interim President Adly Mansour and Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, who she was due to see again later Tuesday.

She also met representatives of the pro-Morsi coalition, which confirmed that "no initiatives" to resolve the crisis had been discussed and said its position was unchanged.

"The coalition affirmed the Egyptian people will not leave streets and squares until constitutional legitimacy returns," the Islamist bloc said.

"We are ready to talk to anybody, but we don`t see anything positive from the other side," added Amr Darrag, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood`s political Army.

AFP




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