Cautious German welcome to Mubarak speech

2nd February 2011, Comments 0 comments

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle gave a cautious welcome on Wednesday to what he said was an opening of the way to a "new political beginning" by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

"It is good President Mubarak has opened the way for a new political beginning. We will have to see what role he himself plays," Westerwelle said in an interview on German radio.

"What is important is that these announcements are followed by concrete action and that dialogue with all political forces occurs ... We do not want those on the streets to be pressured by violence."

The embattled Mubarak announced late on Tuesday that he had never intended to run for another term in office after days of protests against his rule that have left an estimated 300 people dead and more than 3,000 injured.

Westerwelle did not comment on the specifics of Mubarak's speech and stopped short of calling on the 82-year-old to step down immediately.

US President Barack Obama, who spoke to Mubarak after the speech, went on television to say he had told the Egyptian president that an orderly transition needed to begin immediately.

Westerwelle added there was no reason to change Germany's travel advice, saying: "Up until now, we have no indication that tourists are in concrete danger, but we urgently advise against travelling to Egypt."

© 2011 AFP

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