First Published: 2013-01-31

 

Morsi’s visit fails to ease Germany’s wariness: Hopes of financial aid dashed

 

Germany warns that financial aid to Egypt is contingent upon democratic progress as Morsi insists that he has nothing against Judaism.

 

Middle East Online

‘We want a successful transformation process in Egypt’

BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the visiting Egyptian president Wednesday to ensure constant dialogue as his country grapples with a political crisis that has sparked deadly unrest.

Merkel told a joint press conference in Berlin with President Mohamed Morsi that Germany wanted a successful transformation process in Egypt, where Morsi took over last year, and was ready to help.

"From my side I made it clear that there are different things that are very important for us," she said, adding: "One is that dialogue with all political forces in Egypt is always available."

"That the different political forces can make a contribution, that human rights in Egypt are observed and that of course also religious freedom can be experienced," she added.

The visit came as Egyptian opposition leaders sought urgent talks on the political crisis, as fresh violence killed two more people in Cairo after nearly a week of violence.

Merkel said Morsi's visit -- his first to Europe's biggest economy since his election in June -- was appreciated, albeit shortened, given the "not easy" political situation at home, and described Egypt as an "important voice" in the Middle East peace process.

It had originally been scheduled to last two days.

France's presidency said on Tuesday that Morsi had postponed a visit to Paris for later in the week.

Speaking through an interpreter, Morsi told reporters that Egypt would be a constitutional state which allowed the exchange of opinions.

He also spoke of ties with Germany based on respect of different interests "without interference in domestic affairs".

Morsi also insisted that he had nothing against Judaism and that comments on Israel attributed to him before he was elected had been "taken out of their context".

"I am not against Judaism as a religion, I am not against the Jews who practise their religion," he said.

According to a TV clip released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Morsi refers in a 2010 interview to "occupiers of Palestine" as "blood suckers and war mongers, and descendants of pigs and apes."

Mohamed ElBaradei, a leading figure in the National Salvation Front, called Wednesday for talks just two days after the opposition had rejected Morsi's appeal for dialogue.

The latest unrest began with protests marking the second anniversary of the Egyptian uprising, and took a violent turn at the weekend after 21 residents of Port Said were sentenced to death over football-related violence.

Anger on the streets has been directed primarily at Morsi, who is accused of betraying the revolution that brought him to power and of consolidating power in the hands of his Muslim Brotherhood.

According to German media reports, the Egyptian leader came to Berlin to seek debt relief as well as possible German investment to help the country's struggling economy.

Ahead of Morsi's arrival, Germany's foreign minister warned that German financial aid to Egypt was contingent upon democratic progress.

Berlin's offer of help "depends on advances in the democratic development in Egypt", Guido Westerwelle said on ARD public television.

After meeting Merkel, Morsi was due to take part in a conference with German Economy Minister Philipp Roesler and the president of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In December Germany announced it had postponed debt relief for Egypt of up to 240 million euros ($316 million) due to concerns about its commitment to democracy.

Germany is Egypt's third biggest trading partner.

 

Libyan court sentences Kadhafi son to death in absentia

Two Bahrain police killed in 'terror' attack

Syrian army, Kurds push IS out of Hasakeh

Air raids and clashes shatter Yemen truce

Iran urged to free Washington Post journalist

UN aid chief calls for greater Syria access

Rebels gain ground near Syrian regime heartland

Cairo furniture factory fire kills 25

Javad Zarif has 'no concern' about nuclear deal

Somalia unable to hold full elections in 2016

Kuwait sentences 4 Egyptians to death for murder

Turkish sergeant shot dead by Kurdish militant

Netanyahu: Iran a 'formidable' danger to Europe

Iran's conservative media slams French FM over export of tainted blood

NATO stands with Turkey in face of 'terrorism'

Mogherini due in Iran for nuclear deal talks

Erdogan: No peace process with Kurds amid attacks

Saudi FM denounces 'aggressive' Iran statements

Two suspected jihadists in Cairo raid

Saudi king supports Turkish military action

Morocco media boss to pay defamation damages for transport minister

Abbas vs. Dahlan: Rumblings in Ramallah raise questions on Palestinian politics

Iraq Shiite chief sees no change in Turkey stance on IS

Coalition jets accidentally hit pro-government Yemen forces

ISIS on agenda as Cameron leads trade mission to Southeast Asia

PKK 'never respected' peace process

Arab ministers to meet after Jerusalem clashes

US joins forces with Turkey: Agreement to forge 'ISIS-free zone' in Syria

Ahead of emergency meeting, Turkey ‘has not asked’ for NATO help

Obama vows to keep up pressure on Somalia's Shebab

EU foreign chief due in Saudi Arabia for talks on Iran, Yemen

Kurds cut key jihadist supply route in northern Syria

Turkey could "change the balance" in Syria

Rebel fire kills Syrian reporter in Damascus

Turkish tanks shell Kurdish-held Syria village

Saudi-led coalition suspends Yemen air war

13 killed in Mogadishu hotel car bomb attack

Bomb blast kills at least six people in Somalia capital

Death toll from Nile boat crash rises to 36

Pro-Hadi forces battle retreating rebels in south Yemen

Iraq forces retake university campus on edge of Ramadi

Egypt extends state of emergency in parts of Sinai Peninsula

Clashes erupt as Israel security forces raid Al-Aqsa mosque compound

Fatigue, but not defeat: Syria army faces manpower shortage

Fragile truce in danger as Turkey blames PKK for deadly attack