Sunday,18 March, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1178, (2 - 8 January 2014)
Sunday,18 March, 2018
Issue 1178, (2 - 8 January 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Ashton on holiday in Egypt

Al-Ahram Weekly

Muslim Brotherhood protests and terrorists attacks in Sinai and the Nile Delta region were not enough to stop the European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton from spending her Christmas holiday in Egypt.

Ashton arrived in Cairo International Airport on Thursday and went directly to Luxor where she and her family spent Christmas. They took a tour of archeological sites, including the Valley of the Kings and the tombs of Tutankhamen and Nefertari.

This is the second visit paid by Ashton to Luxor in 2013. She said visiting Pharoanic monuments had been her dream since she was a child.

Ashton’s pick of Egypt for a holiday may be a symbolic victory for the government amid concerns that the country’s security situation is deteriorating.  

Ashton has visited the country twice since the ouster of the Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. She was the first foreign politician to be allowed to meet with the former president at an undisclosed location in which he was being held by the interim authorities.

Since the ouster of Morsi Ashton has maintained a balanced policy toward Egypt. She never described what happened as a coup, and has tried to persuade Muslim Brotherhood leaders to join the political process and give up their demand for reinstalling Morsi.

She also expressed concern on various occasions over the use of force to disperse the Muslim Brotherhood protests and the jailing of activists who violate the controversial protest law.

“I am concerned about the guilty verdict, the prison sentences and the financial penalty handed down by a court in Egypt against political activists Ahmed Maher, a founder of the 6 April movement Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel,” said Ashton in a statement on 23 December.

Ashton also condemned the terrorists attacks that have targeted security forces and army buildings, including last week’s deadly bombing in the city of Mansoura which killed 15 people. She said the perpetrators of such actions must be brought to justice.

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