EU wants to play the role of “facilitator”

No photos were issued at the end of a surreal meeting Monday night, but it really did take place. Catherine Ashton, European diplomatic representative has, for once, been talked about. She went by helicopter to a secret location where Mohamed Morsi, the Islamist Egyptian president removed from office July 3, is being held, and she met with him for two hours.

This meeting might be mistaken for mediation. “The meeting between Cathy Ashton and Morsi clearly shows the value and importance of EU diplomacy,” was the rapid reaction on Twitter of the energetic Swedish minister of foreign affairs, Carl Bildt. However, Ashton had not been able to see Morsi when she was in Cairo on July 17. Does the about-face of those who took power at the beginning of the month signal their disarray in a desperately stalemated situation? It’s also interesting that the proud Egyptians have asked the European Union for help in an internal crisis…

“We have already played a very important role of facilitator in Egypt, and we will continue to do so,” stated Mrs. Ashton’s spokesperson, Michael Mann. He was happy to emphasize that the EU was “almost the only organization with which everyone in Egypt wants to talk.”

In the meantime the Europeans say they do not have a plan in mind. Original ideas will be welcome to get Egypt out of the inextricable political stalemate in which it is stuck. The Muslim Brotherhood remains persuaded that it has been a victim of a plot to deprive it of an electoral victory which the army is contesting saying it has a popular mandate.

Neither the United States nor the EU has denounced the July 3 military coup d’état which was supported by a large part of the population. Those supporters were tired of the excesses and mistakes of the Muslim Brotherhood which had been in power since the June 30, 2012 election of President Mohamed Morsi. Washington and Brussels were content to demand the reinstatement of the democratic process and the liberation of imprisoned protesters.



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