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European diplomat visits Morsi in detention

CAIRO -- Egypt's military gave the ousted president his first contact with the outside world since removing him from office, allowing Europe's top diplomat to meet with Mohammed Morsi yesterday in his secret detention. She emerged from her two-hour talks with him urging all sides to move on toward a peaceful transition.

Despite the military's gesture, two days of efforts by the EU's Catherine Ashton to find a solution to Egypt's crisis hit a brick wall.

Some voices in the military-backed government, including Vice President Mohammed ElBaradei, have arisen, hoping to avert a security crackdown on Morsi's supporters, but neither side has budged in their positions, which leave no visible room for compromise.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and his Islamist allies say the only solution is for Egypt's first freely elected president to be restored to office, and they have vowed to continue their street rallies until that happens. Last evening, they held new marches in Cairo outside the military intelligence offices, and in other cities around the country.

The military and interim government, in turn, have rejected releasing Morsi or other detained Brotherhood leaders. Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, was invited by several parties in the standoff, including ElBaradei, in what appeared to be a last-ditch attempt to use her good offices with the Brotherhood to find a way to avert a showdown.

In Washington, meanwhile, Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain said Tuesday they have been asked by President Barack Obama to travel to Egypt next week to urge the military to move ahead on new elections. -- AP

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