|Catherine Ashtone, EU foreign policy chief|
Catherine Ashton, foreign policy chief of EU, has arrived in Egypt with the three days official visit in order to meet the representatives of the country’s current transitional government and the representatives of different political forces as well and to discuss the ongoing transitional period in Egypt.
Catherine Ashton has visited Egypt several times amid the deepening crisis between the country’s Islamists and the opponents and also right after the ouster of Egypt’s Islamist backed President Mohamed Morsy. EU was dealing as a mediator between the two rival powers in Egypt’s politics, though the reconciliation process and the talks between the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters and the interim government and supporters of Army’s ouster of Mohamed Morsy have failed. Western countries have been also accused by Egyptians of interfering in the internal affairs of the country, though Catherine Ashton stressed several times the mediation of EU has nothing to do with supporting of specific political forces and political courses.
Catherine Ashton has also stressed several times she is ready to visit Egypt again in attempt to participate in the talks between different political forces of the country and to show the support of EU of the transitional process and democracy in Egypt.
EU foreign policy chief has arrived in Cairo and held several meeting with Egyptian leaders and representatives of different powers and institutions on Wednesday and Thursday.
During the meetings and discussions Catherine Ashton has stressed the importance of inclusiveness of all the political forces in the transitional process in order to build democratic society in the country and to implement the steps of the political roadmap proposed by the Armed Forces after Mohamed Morsy has been ousted. She also added that EU is not supporting specific political forces and not leading the mediation process between different political forces currently and this visit is rather consultative.
Though several political experts and analysts have been interpreting the visit of Catherine Ashton as an attempt of EU to renew its mediation in the reconciliation process and cooperation between Muslim Brotherhood and the current interim government of the country.
During her official visit to Cairo Catherine Ashton has held the meeting with Egypt’s Head of the Armed Forces Abdel Fattah El-Sissi and also with Egypt’s Interim President Adly Mansour in order to discuss the details and the implementation of the roadmap issued after Mohamed Morsy’s ouster. She also expressed her condemnation of the terrorist activities and attacks of the security and army facilities in Northern Sinai which became almost a daily matter after the ouster of Mohamed Morsy and the violent crackdown of the sit-ins of his supporters in Cairo.
In addition to that Catherine Ashton has also met with the deputy Prime Minister and Minister International cooperation Ziad Bahaa El-Deen and discussed the latest events and measures of the government regarding economical situation in Egypt. Mr. El-Deen in his turn called on EU to reinstate its financial aid and programs for Egypt in order to help to recover economical situation and political stability in the country.
Catherine Ashton has also the meetings with Egypt’s spiritual leaders, Pope Tawadros II and Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb.
As for the Islamist forces she also met with the representatives of the Salafist Al-Nour which is the only one Islamist party participating in the transitional process and in the amending the Constitution.
Catherine Ashton’s visit to Cairo also included her meeting with Amr Moussa, chairman of Egypt’s 50-member Constitutional Committee tasked with the drafting the amended 2012 Constitution. According to the statement of Amr Moussa there have been no interference in the process of the rewriting of the national charter, but Ashton stressed again the importance of the inclusiveness of all the political forces and social factions in the process of the amending of the Constitution. During her visit in Cairo Catherine Ashton has also met with the representatives of the National Salvation Front.