EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton
EU foreign policy chief Catherine AshtonIsrael news photo: Flash 90 / archive

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton met with ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Monday for talks which she described as “friendly” and “frank.”

Ashton was not told where Egypt’s military leaders, who ousted Morsi in a coup in early July, are keeping the deposed leader. Instead, she was flown to see him by military helicopter.

She reported that Morsi is “well,” and has access to television and newspapers. She did not reveal details of their discussion.

Ashton has called on Egypt’s military leaders to release Morsi, who has been accused of crimes relating to his escape from prison in 2011. Morsi is accused of having collaborated with Hamas to kill members of Egyptian security forces.

The EU policy chief is in Egypt now in an attempt to mediate between embattled political factions. “I’ve urged everyone to think very carefully about how you include everybody in the process,” she said.

She said she had told Egyptian leaders that she will not return to the country until Morsi is freed.

Nearly 300 people have been killed since Morsi’s ouster, many of them gunned down by police during pro-Morsi rallies. There have also been massive rallies against Morsi and in favor of the military regime.

Planned marches this week have led to fears of new violence.