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Call it a coup, Muslim Brotherhood tells Ashton

July 18, 2013 at 12:02 PM

CAIRO, July 18 (UPI) -- The Muslim Brotherhood said the European Union needs to come forward and condemn the military coup against Mohamed Morsi in early July.

The Egyptian military removed Morsi from power July 3, barely a year after he became the first democratically elected president in Egyptian history. Morsi's administration faced mounting criticism over its tilt toward conservative Islamic political ideologies and for failing to address lingering economic woes.

Catherine Ashton, the top foreign policy official for the European Union, met Wednesday with interim leaders and those from the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood's political party. Morsi ran as an FJP candidate.

"It's important, not only for the Freedom and Justice Party, but for all those involved in the future of the country, to know that the future really is about ensuring that everybody can be engaged," she said in a statement Wednesday.

The Muslim Brotherhood has rejected outreach efforts offered so far by the interim administration. The Brotherhood, in a statement issued through its official Ikhwanweb site, said it wanted some recognition of the military takeover.

Brotherhood spokesman Gehad al-Haddad called on the EU "to explicitly condemn the military coup."

Western governments have been reluctant to describe the takeover as a coup because of legal issues related to foreign aid. Ashton said Morsi and other "political prisoners" should, however, be released.

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