EU's Ashton visits Mohammed Morsi

2013-07-30 07:30

Cairo - EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has gone to visit ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, a senior Egyptian official said early on Tuesday.

"She went to see him where he is being held. She isn't back yet," the source said on condition of anonymity, shortly after midnight.

Other sources said that Ashton had left Cairo in a military helicopter heading to the undisclosed location where Morsi is being held.

The former president, deposed in a 3 July coup after massive protests against his rule, has not been seen publicly since his ouster.

He has been remanded in custody over accusations related to his escape from prison during the 2011 uprising that overthrew president Hosni Mubarak.

During her last visit to Cairo, on 17 July, Ashton unsuccessfully requested a meeting with Morsi and urged his release.

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

The top EU envoy arrived on her latest trip to Egypt on Sunday night, a day after bloody clashes at a rally of Morsi supporters that left 82 people dead.

She has already met with a series of officials from the interim government, including president Adly Mansour, vice president for international affairs Mohamed ElBaradei and army chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

On Sunday evening she also met with representatives of the coalition of Islamist groups protesting to try to get Morsi reinstated as president.

But a member of the delegation said no new initiatives to resolve the country's political standoff had been discussed during the talks.