EU envoy visits Mursi in custody amid heightened tensions

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Ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Mursi was paid a visit by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, her spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Ashton met Mursi "for two hours," her spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told AFP.

Other sources told the news agency that Ashton had left Cairo in a military helicopter heading to the undisclosed location where Mursi is being held.

Mursi has not been seen publicly since he was deposed on July 3 after massive protests against his rule.

Ashton pressed Egypt’s rulers on Monday to step back from a growing confrontation with the Muslim Brotherhood following deadly clashes between Mursi supporters and security sources at the weekend.

On her second trip to Egypt since Mursi’s fall, Ashton met General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the head of the army and the man behind the overthrow of Egypt’s first freely elected president.

Meanwhile, a coalition of Egyptian Islamist groups said on Tuesday they told Ashton that protests will go on until Mursi in reinstated as president.

"The coalition affirmed the Egyptian people will not leave streets and squares until constitutional legitimacy returns," a statement said after the meeting with the EU foreign policy chief.

She also held talks with deputy interim president and prominent liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei and interim foreign minister Nabil Fahmy.

During her last visit to Cairo, on July 17, Ashton unsuccessfully requested a meeting with Mursi 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.”

(With AFP and Reuters)

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