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EU's Ashton seeks mediation to end Egyptian division


09:03, July 30, 2013

CAIRO, July 29 (Xinhua) -- With a tight schedule in Cairo, European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has been striving to mediate between Egypt's deeply divided political factions to put an end to violence and launch reconciliation.

Ashton arrived in Cairo late Sunday in her second visit to Egypt in less than two weeks after the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted by the military on July 3. She also came as the weekend conflicts between Morsi's opponents and loyalists left at least 80 dead and some 800 others injured, mainly in Cairo and Alexandria.

On Monday, Ashton met Egypt's interim Vice President for International Affairs, Mohamed ElBaradei, to discuss ways of ending the current political crisis.

During the meeting, ElBaradei said any solutions must be reached within the framework of respecting the rule of law and state institutions without threatening the country's security. He also stressed the importance of "all" political forces' participation in the roadmap proposed by the military.

Meanwhile, Presidential Media Adviser Ahmed al-Mislimani said the EU understands the situation in Egypt, continues supporting the country, and appreciates the roadmap.

Asked about reports that said Ashton had requested to visit Morsi, who has been held incommunicado since his overthrow, Mislimani said "I do not think that a foreign party could request to visit Morsi."

"We respect and consider visions and initiatives led by all parties, including the EU, the United States or any other state, but we never accept anyone to dictate its decision on us," he said.

Also, Ashton met interim President Adli Mansour to discuss the implementation of the army's roadmap, while she also met Defense Minister Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, who, on behalf of the military, ousted Morsi and won admiration from protesters against Islamist- oriented Morsi who was elected ago.

When Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi met Ashton, he stressed the importance of a "national reconciliation" among all political forces, while Ashton underlined the necessity of a comprehensive transitional process comprising all political forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ashton also told Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 Youth Movement, that political solution is the only way to solve the crisis in Egypt.

On Monday, Ashton also met a delegation of ultra-conservative Salafist Nour Party, the second important Islamic party in the country after the once ruling Muslim Brotherhood, and met as well leaders of the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, led by the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to Egyptian presidential political adviser Mostafa Hegazi, Ashton's visit is not meant to interfere in Egypt's internal affairs, noting that the government appreciates the EU's efforts to ease the escalating tension in Egypt.

Ashton has reportedly decided to extend her stay in Egypt for further meetings and to reinforce the EU's message to Cairo.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiangJun、Yao Chun)

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