EU Calls For Release Of Egypt’s Morsi

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton with Egypt's interim President Mansour
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton with Egypt’s interim President Mansour

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has said that she regretted not having been able to meet Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi on a visit to Cairo.

She called for his immediate release on Wednesday from the custody he has been kept in since just hours after the military toppled him on July 3.

“I believe he should be released. I was assured he is well. I would have liked to see him,” Ashton told reporters.

A senior figure in ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood met with Ashton and said Brussels had offered no proposal that could resolve Egypt’s political crisis.

Ashton held a 45-minute meeting with Amr Darrag and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders, as well as Morsi’s prime minister, Hisham Kandil.

Asked whether he was disappointed that the EU was not supporting the Brotherhood, Darrag said: “We are not expecting support from anybody. We are relying only on ourselves.”

Meanwhile, the interim cabinet is charged with salvaging an economy wrecked by two and a half years of turmoil. For that, it has been given a lifeline of $12bn in aid from rich Gulf Arab states

Ashton could offer the EU as a mediator. Brussels is not as big a donor to Egypt as the United States but is also less polarising, and tried in the past to mediate between Morsi and his opponents, an invitation to which Morsi did not respond.

Ahmed Galal, Egypt’s finance minister said on Wednesday that an IMF loan was only “part of the solution” to the country’s problems and the new transitional government would have to draw up a plan that would start to fix the troubled economy.

Earlier on Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said it was too early to judge yet the future course of Egypt.

“Very clearly order needs to be restored, stability needs to be restored, rights need to be protected … and the country needs to be able to return to normal business,” Kerry told a press conference in Amman.