Egypt allows EU envoy to see deposed Morsi
Updated: 2013-07-31 08:16
CAIRO - Egypt allowed Europe's top diplomat to meet deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi on Monday, flying her after dark to Morsi's secret detention facility but ruling out any role for him in ending the turmoil convulsing the country.
A supporter of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi holds a poster of him as he rides on a scooter during a march from the Al-Fath Mosque to the defence ministry, in Cairo July 30, 2013.[Photo/Agencies]
Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, became the first outsider to see Morsi since he was deposed by the army on July 3, taken into detention and placed under investigation on charges including murder.
His fate - and a deadly crackdown by security forces on his supporters - has raised global anxiety about a possible bid to crush Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, a movement that emerged from decades in the shadows to win power in elections after the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak.
Ashton revealed little about what she called a "friendly, open and very frank" two-hour conversation with the deposed president. An aide said they had "in-depth" talks.
"I've tried to make sure that his family knows he is well," said Ashton, who has emerged as one of the only figures accepted by both sides as mediator in a conflict that has found the United States cast as a meddling hand.
Flown to the meeting by military helicopter, Ashton said Morsi had access to television and newspapers and was informed about the situation in the country. "I saw where he was," she said. "I don't know where he is, but I saw the facilities he has."
Ashton spent Monday shuttling between Egypt's rulers and the Brotherhood to try to pull the country back from more bloodshed.
In a possible sign of progress, a spokesman for Ashton said EU envoy Bernadino Leon would travel to Cairo on Wednesday to "continue the work."