EU foreign policy chief to visit Egypt next week

The European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will visit Egypt between 18-19 June as part of a wider tour of the Middle East, EU delegation to Egypt chief James Moran announced in a statement on Tuesday.

Ashton is expected to reiterate EU support for Egypt’s democratic transition during her visit, with Moran adding that she will discuss the River Nile controversy currently embroiling President Mohamed Morsy’s government with the Ethiopians.

Hailing the EU’s longstanding relations with Egypt and other African states, Moran said Ashton would listen to Egyptian official to see what could be done to ease tensions between the two countries over the divisive Grand Renaissance Dam project, launched by Ethiopia in May.

Talks are also expected to touch on Egypt’s stance on the Syrian conflict as the United States, Russia and European states continue to push for resolution in a civil war that has seen over 80,000 deaths and 1.5 million refugees displaced into neighbouring countries.

No political compromise could be reached without Egypt’s diplomatic clout, Moran claimed.

The EU chief has also expressed hopes that opposition protests, calling for early presidential elections, on 30 June will pass by without incident.

“I don’t know exactly what will happen,” he said. “I don’t want to make predictions. But we hope everything will go safely without a new series of problems for Egypt.”

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