Top E.U. diplomat: Morsi meeting "friendly"

(CBS News) CAIRO -- Egypt's military finally let an outsider visit the deposed President Mohammed Morsi.

In this Wednesday, June 19, 2013 file image released by the Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, right, meets with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt. Ashton held a two-hour meeting with Morsi, the EU said on Tuesday, July 29, 2013, in the Islamist leader's first meeting with an outsider since the military deposed him nearly a month ago.
In this Wednesday, June 19, 2013 file image released by the Egyptian Presidency, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, right, meets with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt.
AP Photo/Egyptian Presidency, File

Late Monday night, the European Union's top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, was taken to a secret facility where Morsi is being held.

The military ousted him nearly a month ago. Since then, his supporters from the Muslim Brotherhood have taken to the streets in protests -- some of which have turned deadly.

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In a press conference Tuesday, Ashton gave remarkably few details about her meeting. She said that the two of them had a "frank" and "friendly" open discussion that lasted about two hours.

Ashton also said the ousted leader had access to television and newspapers and that he was aware of events in Cairo, but would not give more details about what exactly Morsi said.

Clarissa Ward reports on European Union diplomat Catherine Ashton's meeting with former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi from Cairo.
Clarissa Ward reports on European Union diplomat Catherine Ashton's meeting with former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi from Cairo.
cairo,clarissa ward

Where Morsi is being held is also a mystery. Ashton was flown to the location via helicopter late at night and told reporters she did not know where exactly she was when she met with the former Egyptian president.

The U.S. government is having difficulty getting a full, clear picture of the situation in Cairo, but Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and other officials in the administration are all reaching out regularly to their Egyptian counterparts to press the importance of negotiating with the Muslim Brotherhood.

CBS News has recently learned that President Barack Obama is sending Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to Cairo next week to further emphasize the message and try to convey to the military the importance of handing over control to a civilian government as soon as possible.

  • Clarissa Ward

    Foreign Correspondent, CBS News