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.

 

Iraq forces battle IS jihadists to retake Fallujah

Palestinian PM dismisses Netanyahu proposal

EgyptAir victims' relatives give samples for DNA tests

Kurdish, Arab forces announce anti-IS offensive north of Syria's Raqa

Abu Dhabi oil giant cuts thousands of jobs

Syrian base used by Russia damaged in IS attack

Israel PM's travel expenses under scrutiny

Iran sends new delegation to Saudi for hajj talks

Hardline cleric elected head of Iran's Assembly of Experts

Civilians trapped as Fallujah siege tightens

Iraq's Fallujah offensive draws attention from embattled PM

Turkey incoming PM unveils cabinet

US, Russia scramble to save Syria truce

Libyan coastguards intercept 550 bound for Europe

Campus bomb kills two in Yemen's Sanaa

Saudi soldier killed in landmine blast on Yemen border

Over 148 killed in IS bombings in Syria regime heartland

Erdogan advisor says Turkey could suspend EU deals

Iraq launches military operation to retake Fallujah

Oil prices dip as Iran says no to output freeze

Skepticism ahead of Istanbul humanitarian summit

Sudan steps up pressure for exit of Darfur peacekeepers

UN Palestinian agency says half its schools hit by conflict

Bombs kill more than 120 in Syria regime strongholds

Netanyahu rejects French peace initiative

Gunmen kill 8 worshipers in Darfur

India in deal to turn Iran port into trade hub

Turkey's incoming PM working on new cabinet

Israel lifts ban on Gaza cement deliveries

Yemen warring parties meet after long pause

Egypt enlists submersible to search for EgyptAir crash clues

Tunisia's Ennahda reelects Ghannouchi as party chief

At least 20 dead in Yemen suicide bombing

Syria rebels give truce brokers 48 hours to end regime offensive

Deadly bombings rock northeast Syria as US commander visits

Ex- government minister dies in Libya ISIS clashes

Green Zone breach may set stage for more violence in Iraq

‘Last chance’ to save Yemen peace talks

Egypt deploys submarine in search for clues in plane crash

Erdogan loyalist set to be Turkey PM

Attempt to disperse protesters turns deadly in Iraq

EgyptAir crash fuels theories

Tunisia Islamist party moves to shed ‘political Islam’ label

US swiftly rejects Russia proposal for Syria joint airstrikes

Coalition leaflets advise residents to flee Raqa