EU Sharpens Tone to Mubarak, Ashton Set to Visit Egypt

World | February 11, 2011, Friday // 16:04|  views

Furious Egyptian protesters vowed to step up their revolt against President Hosni Mubarak's regime on Friday, pouring back into the streets of Cairo after he refused to quit office. Image by EPA/BGNES

EU foreign policy head Catherine Ashton has not given up her hopes to visit Egypt, which has been ripped by violence and protests over the past weeks, despite an unwelcoming message from the country's foreign ministry.

The European Union's foreign policy chief is to travel to Tunisia on Monday, and hopes to also visit Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Territories as part of the bloc's efforts to boost peace and democracy in the region, officials said Friday.

As part of that push, 'it is already clear' that EU High Representative Catherine Ashton will go to Tunisia on Monday, an EU spokesman said in Brussels.

Details of the visit have not been published, but the spokesman said that Ashton is expected to 'meet all the most important politicians in the country.'

Following Mubarak's speech Thursday night, the European Union sharpened its tone, with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton expressing disappointment that the speech did not open the way to faster and deeper reforms.

Ashton called for the lifting of Egypt's state of emergency as soon as possible. And she said the orderly and irreversible transition to democracy and fair elections was a goal shared by both Europeans and Egyptians.

A day earlier Egypt's foreign minister said he doesn't want visitors in Cairo in February because of their extremely busy domestic agenda.

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Tags: head, chief, policy, Catherine, Ashton, Egypt, Cairo, Brussels, European Union, EU, foreign, Europeans, egyptians, minister


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