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.

 

Egypt declares three-month state of emergency in Sinai

Lebanon army attacks Islamists as violence spreads to Tripoli souks

Dozens dead in Huthi-Qaeda clashes in central Yemen

Punishment for sexual assault in Iran: Execution of victim!

European clubs step up campaign against winter World Cup in Qatar

Turkey keeps 24 people under observation after yellow powder scare

Russia denies Kerry claims: No agreement to train Iraq army

Germany offers to help Armenia forge peace with Turkey

Libya wakes up from ‘Dubai dream’ to face Somalia-like ‘failed state’

South Yemen separatists vow to intensify secession protests

Relatives of Iraq massacre victims: Blackwater guards should be killed

Ghannouchi makes it clear to Tunisia: It’s either political Islam or Daesh!

Deadly clashes erupt after army raid in northern Lebanon

200 Iraqi Kurd fighters to travel through Turkey to Kobane

Coalition strikes in Syria eliminate more than 500 jihadists in one month

Ahead of elections, new clashes remind Tunisia of need to fight terror

Saudi Arabia jails mothers for preparing sons to wage jihad

Jury finds Blackwater guards guilty of 2007 'massacre' in Iraq

Iraq Kurds approve reinforcements for Kobane

Israel classifies car crash as ‘hit and run terror attack’

Turkish woman arrested for stepping on Koran

Erdogan criticises US for airdrops on Kobane

Iraq schools provide shelter but late to open for classes

Syria air force shoots down two of three 'IS warplanes'

Egypt court rules on ‘Nasr City terror cell’

Fire from Egypt wounds two Israeli soldiers near border

By hook or by crook, settlers notch up property gains in East Jerusalem

Turkey envoy meets leader of parallel government in Libya

Israel arrests seven Palestinian fishermen off northern Gaza

Khamenei to Abadi: Iraq can beat 'Islamic State' without foreign troops

Saudi special court rules in cases of riots and terrorism

Libya army scores small victory in Benghazi

Only in Libya: Government calls for civil disobedience

Kasserine reaps bitter harvest from Tunisia revolution: Poverty and terrorism

Iraq Kurds set to vote on deployment of Peshmerga forces to Syria

Islamic State ‘share in US weapons’ embarrasses Pentagon

Alderton: Morocco unrivalled business gateway to sub-Saharan Africa

Protests over IS turn Istanbul University into war zone

Turkey eyes stricter punishment against lawbreakers at protests

For Sudan President: Promises are something and re-election is something else

Iran returns Abadi to ‘house of obedience’

From traditional military to counterinsurgency force: Syria army grows more capable

South Sudan rivals accept 'responsibility' for civil war

British drones in Iraq also used for Syria surveillance

Turkey launches new wave of wire-tapping arrests