E.U.'s Ashton to meet presidential hopefuls in Cairo

Ashton is also scheduled to hold talks with interim President Adly Mansour, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi and Nabil al-Arabi, secretary-general of the Cairo-based Arab League.

E.U.'s Ashton to meet presidential hopefuls in Cairo

World Bulletin / News Desk

European foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will arrive in Cairo on Wednesday for a two-day visit during which she will meet Egyptian presidential hopefuls and government officials, an E.U. source said.

While in Cairo, Ashton will meet former army chief Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi, who recently resigned as defense minister in order to contest upcoming presidential polls, said the source.

Ashton will also meet leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, another presidential contender, the source, requesting anonymity, added.

Ashton is also scheduled to hold talks with interim President Adly Mansour, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi and Nabil al-Arabi, secretary-general of the Cairo-based Arab League.

The source said Ashton's visit was aimed at following up on Egypt's upcoming presidential elections slated for May 26-27 and stressing that polls should be held without government bias in favor of a particular candidate.

The source went on to say that Ashton would not meet representatives of any Egyptian political parties.

"Ashton did not ask to meet us and we don't expect her to," said Omar Farouq, a leading member of the National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, the main support bloc for ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

Wednesday's visit will be Ashton's fourth trip to Egypt since the army ousted Morsi last July – after only one year in office – on the back of protests against his presidency.

During a previous visit to the country last summer, Ashton met Morsi himself at an undisclosed location, where he had been taken in the wake of his ouster.

Europe's top diplomat had also met with a number of Egyptian political parties and groups – including Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood – during previous visits.

Last Mod: 09 Nisan 2014, 15:31
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