EU's Ashton lauds Egyptian reforms

Nov. 13, 2012 at 10:35 AM

CAIRO, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The European Union stands by Egypt as it looks to secure democratic gains made since last year's revolution, the bloc's top foreign policy chief said.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton meets Wednesday in Cairo with top Egyptian lawmakers, business leaders and representatives from civil society.

Egyptians this year elected Mohamed Morsi as their first democratically elected president in the country's long history. Morsi hails from the Freedom and Justice Party, a political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned under previous administrations.

Ashton said Egypt "has come a long way" since an early 2011 uprising dethroned President Hosni Mubarak, who led the country for roughly 30 years.

"It is vital that this transition continues to ensure the full respect of human rights for all, not least women, who played such a key role in the events of spring 2011," she said in a statement. "In this work, the EU stands by Egypt's side."

"As Egypt's main trading partner and the biggest source of aid and investment, the EU has a key role to play," said Ashton.

Ashton arrived in Egypt this week to meet with officials from the Arab League.

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