Egypt's Morsi is in good health, says top EU diplomat after meeting


CAIRO – Egypt's Mohammed Morsi is in good health and sends his best wishes to the outside world, European Union diplomat Catherine Ashton said Tuesday after a two-hour meeting with the deposed president.

The meeting, held at an undisclosed location, was Morsi's first known contact with foreign officials after his July 3 overthrow by the country's military. 

Islamist Morsi, who was elected by a narrow margin in June 2012 in the country’s first democratic vote, has been hidden from the public since he was removed in what his supporters - including the prime minister of Turkey - regard as a coup. 

His supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood movement have held numerous protests that have at times led to deadly clashes -- at least 100 people were killed on Saturday alone.

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo issued an "emergency message" that said more demonstrations were planned Tuesday, including a march on the area containing the embassy itself. There were violent clashes near the embassy -- protected by police and soldiers as well as cement block walls -- on July 22 between supporters and opponents of Morsi.

Ashton went to Egypt in an attempt to mediate a resolution to the impasse between Morsi's supporters and the interim government installed by the military.

She said the deposed leader had access to television and newspapers when she visited him and was aware of developments in the country. 

“I've tried to make sure that his family know he is well,'' Ashton told journalists following the meeting held Monday night.

She said she had a open and frank conversation with Morsi.

The officials said Ashton was also allowed to see Morsi's chief of staff Rafaa el Tahtawy and was able to walk around the facility.

"I will come back," she said at the end of her visit, according to Reuters, but she added it was up to Egyptian politicians to "make the right decisions." 

On Monday, she met Egypt's army chief and Defense Minister Abdel Fattah Sissi.

A handout photograph released by EU officials showing EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Baroness Catherine Ashton meeting with Egyptian army chief Abded Fattah Sissi on Monday. European Union via EPA

On Friday, Mena news agency reported Morsi would be detained for 15 days while a judge investigated allegations against him. 

Morsi’s family have accused the country’s military of “kidnapping” him and said they would seek help from the International Criminal Court.

The army is responsible for Morsi’s "safety and security," his daughter Shaimaa told a news conference in Cairo.

Reuters contributed to this report.