Envoy holds talks with Morsi

Morsi has been held incommunicado since he was ousted on 3 July.

FILE: A supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's ousted president Mohamed Morsi kisses a poster of him as worshipers gather for prayer outside Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque on 11 July, 2013. Picture:AFP

CAIRO - Egypt's rulers have allowed a European Union envoy to meet ousted President Mohamed Morsi, the first time an outsider is known to have had access to the deposed president since the military overthrew and jailed him earlier this month.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton held two hours of in depth discussions with Morsi late on Monday, her spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said on Twitter.

However, Kocijancic did not say where the talks took place.

Morsi has been held incommunicado since the military removed him from power on 3 July.

Egypt's authorities say he is being investigated for charges including murder, stemming from a 2011 jailbreak when he escaped detention during protests against former autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Ashton has been shuffling between Egypt's rulers and Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood in an attempt to prevent more bloodshed.

Foreign countries are urging the military-backed rulers to reach a compromise with the Brotherhood, specifically after 80 of its supporters were gunned down on Saturday.

Thousands of Brotherhood supporters have been camped out for a month at Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, demanding Morsi's reinstatement and defying threats by the army-backed authorities to remove them.

"It's very simple, we are not going anywhere," said Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad.

"We are going to increase the protest."

Ashton met General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the head of the army. She also held talks with members of the interim government installed by the army, and with representatives of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood's political wing.

Before arriving, she said she would press for a fully inclusive transition process, taking in all political groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ashton is seen by both sides as an important neutral voice in a country where Washington is looked upon with suspicion.

The Brotherhood has said it would hold marches again on Tuesday, raising fears of fresh clashes.