EU to continue mediation efforts in Egypt, Ashton says at close of trip

European Union foreign policy chief says it is ultimately up to Egyptian politicians to "make the right decisions."

July 30, 2013 15:17
1 minute read.
Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

Female Morsi supporters yelling, pointing 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)


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The European Union will continue its efforts to mediate an end to the crisis in Egypt, foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Tuesday at the end of a visit to Cairo.

Speaking alongside interim Egyptian Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, Ashton said EU diplomats would be in Egypt to continue the effort. "I will come back," she said, adding it was up to Egyptian politicians to "make the right decisions".

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Ashton met with Morsi on Monday night at an undisclosed location, where she said she found him well and with access to television and newspapers. The EU foreign policy chief, who is trying to mediate a resolution to Egypt's political crisis, told reporters earlier Tuesday that she had warned prior to her trip, "I wouldn't come unless I could see him." 

ElBaradei said he was optimistic sit-ins by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is protesting against the army's overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi could be ended peacefully.

"Once we contain the violence that is taking place, then there will be room for a peaceful way to disband the demonstrations in different parts of the country and go into a serious dialogue," he said.

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said earlier Tuesday that Morsi should be released, calling the country's political situation "very critical."

"France calls for the rejection of violence and for the release of political prisoners, including former president Morsi," Fabius told journalists in Paris.

Morsi has been detained at an undisclosed location since he was toppled earlier in July.

Fabius' call for Morsi's release echoes statements that have been made by both Germany and the US in the aftermath of the takeover urging the Egyptian's to set Morsi free.

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