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Egypt and EU important partners: Ashton - Daily News Egypt

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Egypt and EU important partners: Ashton

EU foreign affairs chief stresses need for inclusivity in Egypt ahead of Sunday’s opposing marches

Egyptian defense minister Abdelfatah al-Sisi meets with EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton in Cairo on 3 October 2013 (AFP)
Egyptian defense minister Abdelfatah al-Sisi meets with EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton in Cairo on 3 October 2013 (AFP)

Catherine Ashton reiterated the European Union’s support for Egypt during the ongoing transition, stressing that the EU and Egypt are “important” and “strong” partners.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs was speaking at the end of her two-day visit to Cairo, during which she met with a variety of political stakeholders.

Ashton began her remarks by stating, “It’s very important for everyone to understand that I don’t come here to interfere or to mediate.”

“We are important and strong partners together, the EU and Egypt,” she added.

During her visit, Ashton said she “was extremely interested in talking about the economic and political situation” in Egypt. Ashton said she believes that the “aspirations for a democratic Egypt” that she heard in the wake of the 25 January revolution “remain the same.”

Ashton stressed “the importance of inclusiveness to ensure that the political future of Egypt belongs to the Egyptian people.” She said, “I hear people saying we understand the importance of inclusivity,” adding that she believes “there have been ways in which people have tried to engage others.”

She stressed that for the economic situation “the EU is a strong partner,” adding that it is working with the government and civil society “to see how we can best help and support especially the most vulnerable in society.”

Interim Minister of Defence General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi hosted Ashton on Thursday. Ashton said they discussed “the importance of this inclusive process” and the security situation in the Sinai Peninsula. An armed forces statement said they also discussed ways of “boosting cooperation” between Egypt and the EU “at all levels.”

Ashton ended her remarks by stating, “I can say that I got a real sense of everyone really trying to go forward in the right way.”

Opposing marches are planned to converge on Tahrir Square on Sunday. The Anti-Coup Alliance called for mass demonstrations against the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in the leadup to the 40th anniversary of the October War. The Tamarod (Rebellion) campaign called for people to converge on Tahrir Square and the Presidential Palace to celebrate the anniversary.

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