CAIRO: The administration of former President Mohamed Morsi “were not hearing” the messages the European Union was passing during reconciliation efforts before his ouster, EU Ambassador to Egypt James Moran told Tahrir TV Thursday.
“We were asked to do whatever we could to try to help with bringing people back together. We made our best efforts back then… it did not work for us, it didn’t work for the military, who were really really concerned to try to do that back then, and I must say there were very genuine well intentions by everybody here in Egypt to stop a train break,” Moran said, adding that labeling Morsi’s ouster in July 2013 as a coup would be too simplistic.
EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton made several visits to Egypt before and after Morsi’s ouster. The EU’s efforts were “upon request” by all parties— including the military—to help mediate between political forces, according to Moran.
Also in the interview, Moran expressed concern over thousands of detainees under the 2013 Protest Law, which he did not criticize in principal, but noted some of its details are of concern, especially in how it is applied and its punitive measures.
However, he praised Egypt’s economic reforms—namely the cut on fuel subsidies—and anticipated major European investments in the country’s various projects.
Regarding Gaza, Moran emphasized that Egypt is an “indispensable partner” in the strip, and the “key mediator” in inter-Palestinian reconciliation in order to avoid another war.
The ambassador also underscored Egypt’s role in stabilizing Libya, and hoped for Egyptian and Algerian cooperation with the United Nations, as the situation in Libya directly affects Europe in terms of oil imports and illegal immigration, he said.