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.

 

Desperation hangs over Syria meeting in Paris

Turkey submits bill to expand powers of Erdogan

CIA concludes Russia worked to help Trump win election

OPEC seeks output cuts from non-members

Performance of American comic cancelled in Saudi Arabia

Tamurt info: Polisario leader ‘most wanted man in Spain’

HSF denounces Algeria’s migrant expulsion as “shame for Africa”

Suicide bomber hits military camp in Yemen

US-backed alliance announces 'phase two' of Raqa campaign

Kuwait PM forms new cabinet after elections

Pentagon expands US footprint in Syria

OPEC to push for non-member oil cuts

Recaptured IS Libya bastion riddled with mines

Civilians caught in middle of Aleppo maelstrom

US-led coalition air strike destroys 168 IS oil tankers

European rights body says Turkey violated own constitution

Turkey to submit bill expanding Erdogan powers Saturday

Morocco acquits gay teenage girls

Regime air strikes resume on east Aleppo after 'pause'

Erdogan urges Turks to step up efforts to boost lira

IS kills 49 Syrian army members near Palmyra

UN says hundreds of Aleppo escapees missing, rebels block others from leaving

Egyptian ‘world’s heaviest woman’ to have surgery in India

Israeli army admits Hezbollah map just ‘illustration’

Saudi soldier killed by landmine near Yemen border

Shadow of executed Shiite cleric looms in Saudi hometown

Russia vows no let-up in Aleppo assault while 'bandits' remain

US approves $7 billion in arms deals to Arab allies

400 migrants storm Spanish enclave border

IS claims Egypt cleric murders, threatens Sufis

Six killed in Egypt bomb blast

UN Syria envoy planning to meet Trump team

US says 50,000 IS jihadists killed in Iraq, Syria since 2014

Israel arrests alleged Hamas kidnap plotters

Greek court rejects extraditing last two Turkish 'coup' officers

Russian student faces jail after following IS lover to Syria

Yazidi leader calls on international community to help

UN reiterates fears for Aleppo children

Libya finds 266 IS bodies in former jihadist bastion Sirte

Turkey targets German diplomats at airports in revenge move

Aleppo White Helmets call for safe passage

Germany seeks to conclude training deal with Saudi

Egypt arrests son of former Islamist president

Israel joins forces with Greece, Cyprus to fight fire

Erdogan advisor says foreign TV chefs are spies