Germany calls for 'new democratic era' in Egypt

2nd February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany hopes that a "new democratic era" has begun in Egypt, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said on Wednesday, while praising President Hosni Mubarak's record in Middle East diplomacy.

"The (German) government is pressing for and hoping for a speedy transition to a new era of democracy and full civil rights in Egypt," spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular government briefing.

"It is not up to us outside to say what the timeframe should be and by which personalities and groups this path should be taken.

"We are just hoping very much that at the end of this path we actually see what millions of people on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria are clearly dreaming of, namely freedom and human rights."

Seibert praised however Mubarak's record.

"Egypt ... has been at peace with Israel for 30 years and has been a moderate and a moderating influence in the Middle East for decades," he said.

"This is no mean feat in a region where many statesmen have pursued a policy of unconditional struggle against Israel."

He added: "Egypt has done the region and I think the world a service, which should not be forgotten.

"This does not however mean that one cannot support wholeheartedly the democracy movement."

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle echoed Israel's fears that Islamic fundamentalists could come to power in Egypt.

"What we do not want ... is for this democratic wave to bring radicals, extremists and fundamentalists to power," Westerwelle told reporters.

© 2011 AFP

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