Friday

6th Dec 2019

Ashton visits Egypt amid rising tensions

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is in Egypt Monday (29 July) amid high tension following the latest violence which has left scores dead.

Ashton, who was also in the country earlier this month, said ahead of her visit that she would urge a "fully inclusive transition process, taking in all political groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

"The EU will continue to stand by the Egyptian people and support their democratic aspirations," she said.

Her visit comes just two days after around 70 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of the deposed Mohamed Morsi, were shot dead by security forces.

And tensions are set to rise further still on Monday.

Reuters reported that Morsi supporters have begun marching towards military headquarters in Cairo, in defiance of a warning by the army to stay away from military facilities.

The international community has been watching the events in Egypt with increasing nervousness since the army removed Morsi, the country's first free elected president, from power on 3 July.

The EU's first reaction to the army's move was muted but it has become increasingly vocal about the need to include the Muslim Brotherhood in negotiations about the future of the country.

But it has been accused of double standards by Turkey for not coming out with a stronger reactions to the shooting of protestors.

"Those who were silent when Egypt's national will was massacred are silent again when people are massacred. What happened to the EU (and) European values, where are those who go around giving lessons in democracy?" Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday.

Erdogan drew comparisons with the EU's strong criticism of Ankara's recent crackdown on anti-government protestors.

Ashton is due to meet the of the Egyptian armed forces, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the country's interim president, Adli Mansour, and officials from the Brotherhood's political wing.

The military, for its part, has said it does not want to hold onto power but is planning to oversee a transition to civilian rule with a roadmap to parliamentary elections in about six months time.

However, analysts suggest that the increasingly public role of Sisi - at the weekend he urged supporters to come out onto the streets as a way of legitimising his power - throws these state intentions into doubt.

The West views Egypt as a bridge between the Middle East and Africa. The EU has earmarked some €5 billion in economic aid for the country in the coming years and has given around €1 billion in aid to Egypt from 2007 onwards.

Macron spars with US and Turkey over Nato

French president Emmanuel Macron clashed with US president Donald Trump and Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan over Nato, as the future of the alliance begins to fray following Ankara's invasion into north-east Syria in October.

Magazine

EU diplomacy 2.0

MEPs on the foreign affairs committee ought to be like second-tier EU diplomats on the Western Balkans and Russia, according to its German chairman, but foreign policy splits could bedevil its work.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. Migrants paying to get detained in Libyan centres
  2. Searching for solidarity in EU asylum policy
  3. Will Michel lead on lobbying transparency at Council?
  4. Blood from stone: What did British PR firm do for Malta?
  5. EU Commission defends Eurobarometer methodology
  6. Timmermans warns on cost of inaction on climate
  7. Development to fuel change
  8. Does EU have role in stopping backsliding in Georgia?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us