World News Brief, Wednesday July 31

EU envoy visits Mohammed Morsi; Chinese media downplay prospect of China-Japan summit; Cambodia's government denies election fraud; Tunisia's government refuses to step down; Pope changes the tone on discussions about gays in the Catholic church; and more 

Top of the Agenda: EU Envoy Visits Mohammed Morsi

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was allowed to meet deposed Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi for two hours on Monday (Reuters), marking the first time an outsider has been given access since the army overthrew and jailed Morsi a month ago. Ashton said he was in good health, although she revealed little else about their conversation. Egypt's authorities say Morsi is being investigated for charges including murder (al-Jazeera), allegedly stemming from a 2011 jailbreak during the revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak. Political turmoil has divided Egypt, which has seen hundreds of thousands protest for and against military rule.


"The ready acceptance by liberals and pluralists of a coup in the name of democracy is understandable, but at best they are playing with fire. General Sisi's democratic credentials remain suspect, and the champions of a new and more open Egypt have now given him a powerful argument with which to deflect virtually any criticism," writes CFR's Steven Cook for the New York Times.

"Washington's silence on this matter is deafening, particularly after its recent attempts to reinterpret its previously unqualified support for Egypt's first free and fair presidential election in its history. Having walked back its support for Egypt's elected president, Washington now makes urgent but plaintive requests for good behavior all around that hardly register in Cairo," writes Geoffrey Aronson for Al-Monitor.

"Egypt needs to restore stability and security by starting with a de-escalation of the mass demonstrations, which importantly, must not be accomplished by force. Today's unravelling violence might seem to provide for a short term solution, yet, entangling, intractable problems will arise," writes Marwan Bishara for al-Jazeera.



Chinese Media: No Summit With Japan

China's state-run media have downplayed (AFP) the prospect of any potential summit with Tokyo after a Japanese official raised the possibility on Sunday, underscoring tensions over a historic maritime dispute in the East China Sea.

CFR's Sheila Smith delves into the East China Sea dispute in this article.

CAMBODIA: Cambodia's government dismissed calls by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party for an international inquiry into allegations of fraud (Reuters) in Sunday's parliamentary elections. The government said it wanted parliament to approve a new cabinet quickly.


Tunisia's government refuses to step down

Pope makes conciliatory remarks about gays in Catholic church

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