Mursi to reject Ashton’s reconciliation offer, says Islamist group

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Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi is to reject the European Union foreign policy chief’s offer of national reconciliation, an ultra-orthodox Islamist group was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya reportedly said that Mursi would refuse the offer of a “safe exit” by EU’s Catherine Ashton, when the pair met in an undisclosed location late on Monday, according to Egyptian news site Ahram Online.

But on Tuesday, Ashton denied carrying an offer to Mursi of "safe exit" if he were to renounce his claim to the presidency.

Egypt’s military-backed interim rulers allowed Ashton to meet the ousted leader, who had been kept incommunicado for a month.

Mursi is under investigation on charges of espionage and jail break. He has been detained, his whereabouts unknown, since he was deposed on July 3.

Ashton told Al Arabiya on Tuesday that she visited Cairo to send a clear message that prisoners “detained on political grounds should be released.”

Earlier Tuesday, Ashton, who left Cairo in a military helicopter to meet Mursi for two hours, said he was doing “well” and “has access to information and news.”

She added: “If people are in leadership positions and detained politically then that needs to be addressed, because bringing people together, finding a common way forward, building confidence between people is absolutely vital for the future.”

Ashton described Mursi as an “important person,” and said the meeting was an “opportunity” to discuss the situation.

“I promised him that I won’t represent his views because he isn’t in a position to contradict me if I got it wrong, and I wanted to discuss with him how he saw the situation.”

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