A high-level African Union delegation working to ease tensions in Egypt met with deposed President Mohamed Morsy and the leaders who replaced his Muslim Brotherhood-backed administration after a July 3 military coup, the AU said Wednesday.
This comes amid international efforts to forge stability in a country seething with political tension and reeling from spurts of sporadic and deadly violence after Morsy was toppled on the heels of mass protests against his rule.
The three-person AU group is sitting down in Cairo with a range of people in the same week that Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign policy chief, met with current leaders, Muslim Brotherhood members and Morsy -- now held at an undisclosed location on a variety of criminal charges.
"The establishment of the Panel and its current visit to Cairo are part of the AU's efforts to assist Egypt in addressing the challenges confronting the country and ensuring that the legitimate aspirations of its people are fulfilled," the AU said in a statement.
"In so doing, the AU is acting on the basis of its relevant instruments and in the spirit of African solidarity, as Egypt's challenges are also Africa's challenges. A stable, democratic and prosperous Egypt constitutes a tremendous asset for the AU, as it strives to achieve its stated objectives."
The delegation consists of three former leaders: former Malian President Alpha Oumar Konare, former Botswana President Festus Mogae and former Djibourti Prime Minister Dileita Mohammed Dileita.
Along with Morsy, the panel met with acting President Adly Mansour, interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei and Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the man who led the coup.
It also sat down with Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby and representatives of several political movements. It plans to meet with the pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church, a women's group and diplomats.
On Saturday, clashes between security forces and protesters in Cairo left dozens of Morsy supporters dead, and officials have threatened to disband a sit-in of the former president's supporters -- an act that could spur yet more bloodshed.
Several Egyptian human rights groups demanded in a statement released Tuesday that Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim resign over the Saturday incident and demanded that government forces refrain from further violence.
Muslim Brotherhood officials said on the group's website that they will continue protesting until Morsy is put back in office.