After she expressed deep concern about political developments in Egypt, Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy met today in Cairo with parties involved in Egypt’s political deadlock, the Armed Forces and the Muslim Brotherhood.
It is expected that Ashton will meet Minister of Defense Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for a consultation on the roadmap drawn up by the Armed Forces following the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi on 3 July. The roadmap lays out the writing of the constitution, and parliamentary and presidential elections within months.
Sisi yesterday met William Burns the American Deputy Secretary of State in a meeting described as “stormy” by daily Al-Watan. Sisi is reported to have threatened to break off military relations if Washington does not stop threatening to withhold the annual 1.3 billion dollars of aid the US gives to Egypt, a development that suggests tension in US-Egypt relations.
Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Gehad al-Haddad meanwhile said that former ministers and Freedom and Justice Party leaders Amr Darrag and Mohamed Bishr will meet Ashton today representing the National Coalition for Legitimacy and Against the Coup (NCLAC).
The NCLAC brings together a number of Islamist parties with the aim of restoring constitutional legitimacy via the reinstatement of Morsi and reactivation of the suspended Constitution and Shura Council. The NCLAC states that fulfillment of these demands is a precondition to any national reconciliation dialogue.
Haddad also tweeted that the European Union should condemn “the military coup” and the “position of countries that recognized/supported” the “military coup government”.
Haddad also demanded that the European Union “condemn/expose” crimes by the “military coup regime and human rights violations, murders, arbitrary arrests, media crackdown etc”.
In her last statement two days ago Ashton took a step back from describing events in Egypt as a military coup because there was “adequate public support” for the military takeover.
Observers predict fundamental changes in Egypt’s foreign policy in the coming period because of European Union and US support for the Muslim Brotherhood, as opposed to Gulf countries and in particular Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates . The two Gulf states have expressed their optimism about reestablishing strong relations with Egypt after colder relations during Morsi’s tenure.
[This article originally appeared on Mada Masr.]