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Morsi and Merkel: Whereto?

Morsi’s visit to Germany resulted in an officially supportive stance, yet, how much of it was actually real is questionable.
At a press conference in Germany President Mohamed Morsi seemed to be in control of his country’s internal affairs, while the news feed at the bottom of the television-screen reported about “crises” and dead demonstrators in Egypt.

Assuring that Egypt will be a civil state, Morsi met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in his first strategic visit to Germany to mainly discuss economic issues and possible cooperation grounds. He was accompanied by an Egyptian businessmen delegation, which met with their German counterparts and participated in a joint economic forum between both countries, in attendance of the German Economic Minister Philipp Rösler.

The German Press was furious about Morsi’s visit and three demonstrations waited for the President as he arrived. Accusing him of coming to Germany only “to get money”, newspapers and media concluded that all Morsi got this time were “harsh words” by Chancellor Merkel, asking for reform and guarantee of liberties.

Merkel thanked Morsi for coming to Germany "during such critical times in his own country" and explained that on an economic level, Germany can help Egypt go forward in a developmental sense and help Egyptian businessmen network with German companies and experts in the private sector.

“Economically speaking, we care about a legally stable framework in Egypt. This stability is slowly coming and thus, German investments in Egypt will grow. We also want that the tourism sector reaches its peak one more time. Everything has to be done to remove security threats,” she added.

The Chancellor stated that Germany is interested in a successful, peaceful transformation-process in Egypt. “A good, healthy economic development is a prerequisite for a stable political situation. We hope that Egypt will overcome the fragility of its economy,” Merkel said.

According to Morsi, Germany’s stance towards Egypt becomes more supportive every day, especially in terms of the country’s democratic process. The European Union agreed to give Egypt $5 billion, of which Germany carries 25%. “Germany believes in us. What is happening in Egypt today is natural after such a break. It takes time until stability returns, but we will not give up and continue on our path to democracy,” Morsi explained.

While Egypt has witnessed clashes and conflict for the past week, and as three cities were subject to Emergency Law and a curfew, Morsi tried to focus on conflict-zones Gaza, Syria, and Mali and called for international cooperation to end the crises in these countries. “The Syrian Regime cannot cling to power while making innocent people pay the price,” he assured.

Merkel assured that Germany will support the political process in Egypt, by trying to mediate between the government and the opposition, and help call for dialogue between all groups of society. She was also very keen to ensure religious liberty, human rights and freedom in Egypt.

Morsi confidently stated that Egypt has a government that is functioning very well. In 3-4 months, the then newly elected Parliament will ratify a new government that will “hopefully” include members from all parties.

When asked about the newly enforced Emergency Law and curfew in some of Egypt’s harbor cities, Morsi confirmed that he reluctantly resorted to such measures. “We do not accept that anyone steps on the law. This is for the well-being of the citizens of these cities and to end criminal activity. As soon as stability returns, these measures will be lifted,” he ensured.

The Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi were known for their furious stance against ousted President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, when the latter applied such methods while he was in power.

Germany also thanked Egypt for bringing cease-fire between Israel and Palestine last year.

Both countries agreed to additionally cooperate in the exchange of scientific research, education, knowledge and the “know-how”.

Journalists at the press conference also asked Morsi about his recent remarks against Jews, and questioned whether Merkel had discussed this issue with him. In fact, the issue was raised between the Chancellor and the President, and Morsi – again – assured that his words were taken out of context.

The question remains: Will Germany really support Egypt while it is developing in a direction that might not be favorable to Merkel? And to what extent will Morsi try to adapt to the measures that the Chancellor has set?