EU envoy meets Brotherhood leaders in Egypt

Catherine Ashton is on a three-day visit aimed at urging reconciliation between army-backed government and opposition.

Egypt's interim government said the focus of talks was on regional issues, not reconciliation [AFP]

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has met with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood leaders in a closed-door meeting aimed at reconciliation between the army-backed interim government and opposition groups.

A senior member of the Brotherhood, Amr Darrag, said on Wednesday that talks included discussion on the political deadlock in Egypt, but insisted Egyptians must sort out the issue themselves without foreign help.

“We didn’t represent our personal opinions but expressed to Ashton the views of the people. The Egyptian people continue to take to the streets with specific demands and in opposition to the current policies. Our role is to convey their voices,” he said.

Ashton is on a three-day visit to Egypt and will also hold talks with key members of the interim government, including President Adly Mansour and Defence Minister General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

In a statement later, Darrag said they did not discuss their demands to return ousted President Mohamed Morsi back to power.

He said the anti-coup alliance is calling to return the president, constitution and parliament, but that the Brotherhood did not raise these demands during their meeting with Ashton.

Egypt’s foreign ministry also issued a statement on Ashton’s meeting with interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy. 

It said the focus was on regional issues, and nothing about political developments in Egypt or achieving reconciliation.

Morsi has been in military custody, held at an unknown location, since he was deposed by the military on July 3 after massive rallies marking his first anniversary in power.

Egypt’s army-installed government has also launched a massive crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood that has seen hundreds killed and more than 2,000 jailed.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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