Sources in Egypt claim that ousted President Mohamed Morsi told EU Foreign Affairs chief Catherine Ashton that he holds European and American support for the coup which removed him from office to be responsible for the bloodshed in his country. The pair met on Tuesday at the secret location where he is being held by the coup authorities. Morsi, it is alleged, told Ashton that there is no alternative but to uphold the legitimacy of his office if the current political crisis in Egypt is to be solved.
A delegation from the Pro-Legitimacy, Anti-Coup National Alliance also met Ashton and confirmed its rejection of the military coup. The delegation expressed the intention to adhere to constitutional legitimacy and emphasised that the return of the president to office is the basis for the way forward. The alliance also demanded an end to the violence emanating from the coup authorities and the restoration of civil and political rights.
In a statement, the alliance claimed that the Egyptian people will not leave the streets and squares “until the return of constitutional legitimacy and until the country is back on track” with democracy. It welcomed the visits of international human rights organisations to the anti-coup protests as they would be able to confirm the peaceful nature of the protesters and expose the lies of the authorities and media.
The official, pro-coup media in Egypt has suggested that Morsi sought the EU’s help during his meeting with Ashton to stop the coup. The EU, the media claims, offered him a “safe exit” in return for an end to the anti-coup protests, as well as an end to the persecution of his supporters. All of these rumours were denied by Catherine Ashton in a press conference before she left Cairo.
The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs said that she wouldn’t have visited Cairo if she hadn’t been assured of being able to visit Morsi. She explained that she told the ousted president that she could not speak on his behalf because he would be unable to correct any errors that she might make. Ashton pointed out that Morsi is in good health and has access to television and newspapers; she stressed the need for a “peaceful solution” to the crisis.