Catherine Ashton Egypt
Egypt's interim President Adli Mansour with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton at El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo (Reuters)

The EU's foreign policy chief has said Mohammed Morsi is "well" and has access to the outside world after a face-to-face meeting with the deposed president.

Catherine Ashton said she held a two-hour meeting with Morsi and received a tour of his facilities, but claimed his captors refused to reveal the location of his confinement.

Ashton, the EU's representative for foreign affairs and security policy, is in Cairo as part of a European diplomatic effort to mediate between opposing political factions and prevent further bloodshed.

She claimed she held a "friendly and very frank discussion" with Morsi, who has been held incommunicado since the military deposed him nearly a month ago.

The EU diplomat said she was given easy access to the Muslim Brotherhood leader, but was apparently kept in the dark about the place to which she was taken.

"I saw where he was. I don't know where he is but I saw the facilities he has," Ashton told a press conference after the meeting.

According to some reports the diplomat was taken to the meeting overnight by a military helicopter, suggesting Morsi was being held outside the Egyptian capital.

Ashton claimed Morsi is updated about the violence that has been gripping Egypt in recent weeks as "he has access to information, television and newspapers."

Alleged Hamas links

Last week, Egyptian authorities said that Morsi is being detained while they conduct an investigation into the alleged involvement of Hamas in his escape from prison in 2011.

Ashton also met the head of Egypt's armed forces, Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who deposed Morsi, interim President Adli Mansour and his deputy Mohamed ElBaradei.

Her visit came after weekend clashes between Morsi supporters and security forces left 83 protesters dead.

Ashton deplored the violence but said her mission was not to put forward "great ideas" for a solution, as this must be worked out by Egyptian leaders for the Egyptian people.

The EU wants to use its good relations with opposition factions to help and facilitate "a calm resolution to the situation on the ground" thorough an "inclusive transition process", which would also include the Muslim Brotherhood, the Baroness stated.

However there were no clear signs that either side of the conflict was willing to heed her calls.

The Brotherhood rejected appeals to work with the new leaders, insisting Morsi must be reinstated as president, and called for fresh demonstrations. The government itself made no conciliatory gestures.

Mohamed Morsi Ashton
Supporters of Mohamed Morsi at an anti-army rally in Cairo (Reuters)