The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton arrived Wednesday and met with influential political figures in her 12th visit to Egypt since the 25 January Revolution.
The baroness met with foreign minister Nabil Fahmy and discussed the overall bilateral relations between Egypt and the European Union (EU). A statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed that EU aid to Egypt was one of the more significant topics on the agenda.
Trade relations, ways to attract investment, and recommendations by the Joint Working Group between Egypt and the EU were discussed.
Regional topics were also on the agenda. Ashton confirmed that the EU will continue to disallow exports of Israeli-settlement-made products and Fahmy stressed the importance of finding solutions to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Syrian crisis.
In addition to discussions with the Fahmy, Ashton held meetings with President of the Constitutional Committee Amr Moussa and Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb on Wednesday.
Ashton discussed the current roadmap with Moussa in a meeting that lasted for over an hour.
Moussa explained that a noticeable positive change in stance by the EU regarding Egypt’s transitional period is taking place, adding that this change is an “evolution in the European attitude.”
The EU envoy will meet interim President Adly Mansour, Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy, Minister of International Cooperation Ziad Bahaa El-Din and Minister of Defence General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on Thursday.
Leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Tawadros II, leading representatives of the National Salvation Front, the Freedom and Justice Party, Al-Nour and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy and Reject the Coup are all expected to meet with the high representative.
Ashton also met with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al Tayyab; the institution presented the initiatives it had held previously with different political factions.
Ashton is set to provide a report on her visit to Egypt in the EU after the visit ends on Thursday.
The Muslim Brotherhood denounced recent reports that members of the organization have seceded and declared that these “rumors” are being “endorsed in an attempt by the current regime to promote their openness to dialogue with all political parties.”
The organization added that this is a “fallacy” and “arrest campaigns are still carried out against supporters of the legitimate regime.”
EU Special Envoy for the Southern Mediterranean Region Bernadino Leon visited Cairo two weeks ago and met with officials from several political parties and Constituent Assembly Chairman Amr Moussa. He also met with Muslim Brotherhood members Amr Darrag and Mohamed Ali Bishr, who represent groups that oppose the ouster of former President Morsi.
During Ashton’s most recent visit in July, she met with ousted President Mohamed Morsi in an undisclosed location – the only foreign representative to do so.