EU's Ashton in Cairo to push for Brotherhood-government reconciliation

Oct. 2, 2013 at 8:58 AM
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CAIRO, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- European Union foreign policy leader Catherine Ashton visited Cairo to try to reconcile the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's interim government, officials said.

During her three-day trip, Ashton is expected to hold discussions with members of the Egyptian government and army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, as well as some Muslim Brotherhood leaders who have not been taken into custody since Brotherhood follower Mohamed Morsi's ouster as Egypt's first democratically elected president in July, Ahram Online reported Wednesday.

Supporters of Morsi and the Brotherhood, recently banned by Egypt's highest court, have seen most of their top leaders arrested since Morsi's removal July 3.

The Muslim Brotherhood and its allies have rejected Morsi's ouster and have demonstrated regularly against the new government.

On previous visits, Ashton and other Western diplomats have been unsuccessful pushing for an "inclusive" process to end the stalemate after Morsi's removal and to urge Egyptian authorities not to use force against his supporters.

Ashton has visited Egypt 11 times during the past two years, the last time in July when she visited Morsi at an unknown location after his removal from office.

The European Union has condemned a crackdown by security forces on pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo and Giza Aug. 14 in which hundreds of people were killed. Ashton also has voiced fear over the rising level of violence and polarization since Morsi's ouster.

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