EU presses Egypt on political transition

July 17, 2013 at 9:17 AM

CAIRO, July 17 (UPI) -- The European Union is committed to helping Egypt return "as rapidly as possible" to democratic transition, foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.

Mohamed Morsi was removed from power by the Egyptian military July 3. He was ousted amid growing frustration with his support for Islamic political ideologies and for not doing enough to address Egypt's economic woes.

Morsi in June 2012 became the first democratically elected president in Egyptian history. He was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a conservative Islamic organization.

Ashton arrived Wednesday in Egypt to meet with interim leaders to discuss the country's political future.

"Egypt needs to return as rapidly as possible to its democratic transition," she said in a statement. "The EU is determined to help the Egyptian people on their journey to a better future of real freedom and economic growth."

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns made similar statements during his visit to Cairo this week. U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said during a Tuesday conference the United States was staying on the sidelines of Egypt's political transition.

"We don't take sides," he said.

Interim leaders promised to hold new elections as soon as possible. The Muslim Brotherhood has so far shunned political outreach from the transitional government.

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