CAIRO - The European Union's top foreign policy official urged Egypt's interim leaders and supporters of the ousted Islamist president Wednesday to cooperate in a political process that moves the country toward democracy.
But Mohammed Morsi's backers expanded their protests in Cairo, denouncing the new government and casting doubt on the prospects for reconciliation.
The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, has rejected the new political order and demanded the reinstatement of Egypt's first democratically elected president two weeks after he was toppled by the military.
There was no sign that protests were dying down, a day after the interim president swore in a 34-member Cabinet that included several prominent figures from liberal and secular factions as well as officials who served under the regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak - but no Islamists.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was the second foreign dignitary to visit Egypt this week, and the first to meet with Muslim Brotherhood officials since the July 3 coup, which followed mass protests calling for Morsi to step down.
Ashton also met with interim President Adly Mansour, Vice President Mohammed ElBaradei, army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and members of Tamarod, or Rebel, the movement that sparked the huge demonstrations against Morsi's year-old rule.
Ashton said she stressed in all her meetings the need for a political process that includes all sides, but acknowledged that the players are deeply divided.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns was in Cairo on Monday. He met with Mansour and el-Sissi, but the State Department said he spoke to a Muslim Brotherhood official by phone.
Ashton also asked for the release of Morsi, who has been held in an undisclosed military facility.